Skip to main content

Full text of "True tales of the plains"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 



at |http : //books . google . com/ 



ico^^■7.■£.ccxsYW 



Us loM^-^j.ao.-) ^^^ 




i^Mwm9(S)^^ee^ 



i^artaarti Collrctr l^ braro 



PTT 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 



Digitized by 



Google 




"^/.^^ /4^A^.ai^«^%^ 




^^%,clMi^ 4uJl 



Digitized by 



Google 



TRUE TALES 



OF 



THE PLAINS 



By buffalo BILL 

(WILLIAM F. CODY) 
Frontiersmaii and late Chief of Scouts, U. S. Army 




NEW YORK 

CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY 

1908 

======= Jl 



Digitized by 



Google 



VA^\oM^-j^^)^o.-\ 



HARVAiO COUCfiC UIRARY 

BCQUdT OF 

WINWARD PRCSCOn 

lANUAlY th 1M3 



Copyright, 1908, by Prebs Publisriko Compant 

Copyright, 1908, by William F. Cody 

(All riffhtfl reseryed) 

Entered at Stationere* HcUl 



PBINTBD IM THB UKITBD 8TATB8 

The riffht of translation for foreign oonntriea is reserred by the Author 



Digitized by 



Google 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAPTBB TAQM 

I. How I Killed Mt First Ikdiak 1 

II. Mt First Trappiko Adventures 7 

III. Contributed Lite Stories of the Narrator 14 

IV. A PoNT-ExPRESs Rider at Fourteen 20 

V, Hunting por Bear and Findino Horse Thieves ... SI 

VI. Adventures as a Civil War Scout. 40 

VII. "Wild Bill" and how He Killed Ten "Bad Men" 45 

VIII. Mt First Meeting with Gen. William Tecumseh 

Sherman 56 

IX. Hunting Buffalo to Feed the Union Pacific Rail- 
road Constructors 64 

X. A Race for Life 69 

XI. How I Got the Title of "Buffalo Bill" 74 

XII. The Prairie — Its Attractions and Dreads 79 

XIII. Mt First Meeting with General Sheridan 86 

XIV. Mt First Meeting with General Custer 94 

XV. The Fort Phil Kearnt Massacre 103 

XVI. One Year After, or Red Cloitd and Captain Powell 110 

XVII. Custer's Fight at the Washita 119 

XiVnif Foiwrm'? Fjopt ok tw Repv^wcait. ,.•,♦, •.,•••.♦ 1^ 



Digitized by 



Google 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAPTBB PAOB 

XIX, CAUPAIOKiyO IK WlNTEH 136 

XX. The Fight at Eusfhant Rock 143 

XXI. Battle of Summit Sfkikgs 150 

XXII. WiKoiKG Two at a Time 158 

XXIII. The Gbakd Duke Alexis' Buffalo Hunt 166 

XXIV. Sioux akd Cheyeitke Campaign of 1876 177 

XXV. Custer's Last Battle 187 

XXVI. Lieutenant Sibley's Scout 194 

XXVII. The Death of Yellow Hand 203 

XXVIII. Geneeal Miles's Narrow Escape 213 

XXIX. The Slim Butte Fight 221 

XXX. Received by an Army Line of Battle 229 

XXXI. Lieutenant De Rudio's Hairbreadth Escape .... 237 

XXXII. Sitting Bull and '"the Man in the Dark" 246 

XXXIII. Death of Sitting Bull 252 



Digitized by 



Google 



TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

CHAPTER I 

HOW I KILLED MY FIRST INDIAN 

In 1857 I was barely eleven 
when I shot my first Indian. 
He was a chief. I knew 
that from his head-dress. 
His name I never learned. 
Here is the story: 

My parents, with their 

seven children, had moved 

from Iowa to Kansas three 

years earlier. My father had 

taken up a claim in Salt Creek Valley and built a 

comfortable home. But he was not to enjoy the 

good days that seemed to be dawning for us. 

Kansas just then was torn by the slavery feud, 
and in the bitter strife of the time, my father, 
after making an anti-slavery speech at a nearby 
post-trader's store, was mobbed and hislif ethreat- 
ened. On this occasion one of my father's irate 
audience — a man, Charles Dxiime by name— 




Digitized by 



Google 



2 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

stabbed my loved parent in the side. At the time 
of the attack, I stood miarmed over my woimded 
father's body and tried with childish strength to 
fight off his assailants; but though he escaped 
with life in him from the place where he was as- 
saulted, he subsequently succumbed to his in- 
juries, and in the following spring he died. This 
calamity deprived my mother and our family of 
a worthy and esteemed head of the household — • 
his death being an incident in the horrid inter- 
necine strife that eventuated in the tragedies of 
the Civil War. 

At this eventful era in the history of my loved 
family, I was the oldest son, just ten years of 
age. My fragile little mother had no one but me 
to turn to for help in supporting her large 
family. To make things worse the estate be- 
came involved in litigation. To save the home, 
money must be earned. I could ride any horse 
alive. I had a knack of shooting straight, and 
I knew something about herding cattle. I 
thought these qualities might earn me a living. 
They did. 

A firm of overland freighters — ^Russell, Ma- 
jors & Waddell — ^were at Leavenworth. One of 
them, Mr. Majors, had been a friend of my 
father. I asked him for a job as "extra" on 
one of his wagon trains. The pay was $40 a 
month; a fortime it seemed to me then. The; 



Digitized by 



Google 



I KILLED MY FIRST INDIAN 8 

work was the sort usually entrusted to a grown 
man, and it meant not only perpetual hustling, 
but a lot of danger as weU, For the plains in 
those days were anything but free from Indians. 
This latter thought frightened even my brave 
mother. Boy-like, I was delighted at the idea. 

Mr. Majors said he would take me on as "ex- 
tra" for one trip. If I did well I could have 
a regular job. I resolved to do miracles as an 
"extra." The "train" was made up of twenty- 
five loaded wagons each carrying 7,000 pounds, 
each drawn by six yoke of oxen and guided by 
a "bull-whacker" (a driver with a long, loud- 
cracking whip). Then there was a bimch of 
loose cattle. On this occasion the "train" was 
made up of only three wagons and we were driv- 
ing a large herd of beef cattle to Fort Kearny 
for the use of Col. Albert Sydney Johnston and 
his command, who were on their way to Salt Lake 
to fight the Mormons. I was only one of several 
"extras." My duties were to assist in driving and 
herding the cattle, and make myself generally 
useful when we pitched camp. It was a busy trip 
till we came to Plmn Creek, thirty-five miles west 
of Fort Kearny. Though we always set guard, 
no Indians had appeared. 

One noon, however, when we stopped for din- 
ner, and were loafing about on the grass waiting 
for ihe pot to boil, we heard a scathing volley of 



Digitized by 



Google 



4 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

shots from a copse. Some bullets and a dozen or 
more arrows whistled into camp. Everybody had 
jmnped up at the first shot. But three of our 
men tumbled over at once as if they had been 
tripped up. Then a nimaber of things happened 
almost too quickly to describe. 

Two bands of Indians were galloping toward 
us. One band stampeded and ran off our cattle, 
while the other "rushed" us. Our men gave them 
a warm welcome and sent them back on the run. 
But the fight was not over. The "braves" only 
cantered out of range. There they were joined 
by others. They outnumbered us eight or ten 
to one. We could not hope to stand against 
such a multitude. We bolted for the South Platte 
River with the savages at our heels, and foimd 
shelter behind the steep banks. From there we 
opened fire again and drove the following red- 
skins once more out of range. I blazed away 
with the best of them, but in the confusion no one 
could tell whether he or some one else dropped 
the man he fired at. So I can't say whether or 
not I did any execution. 

Frank McCarthy, our boss, said our one chance 
was to follow the Platte River to Fort Kearny, 
keeping out of sight under its banks. So the 
thirty-five-mile march began, through knee-deep 
water and quicksand. Half a day we kept it up. 
I was dead tired, but it was no time for rest or 



Digitized by 



Google 




< 

a 

H 
O 



Digitized by 



Google 



I KILLED MY FIRST INDIAN B 

complaining. Just the same, by nightfall my 
short legs wouldn't keep up with the procession. 
I dropped back, little by little, still plodding on 
as fast as my aching feet could move. We 
thought we had given the Indians the slip, but I 
still lugged my short heavy rifle. It was a muz- 
zle-loading "Mississippi Jaeger," and carried a 
slug and two buckshot to each charge. 

The moon had risen, and I was trying to catch 
up with the rest. Suddenly, in front of me, and 
at the top of the high bank, I saw, against the 
moon, the head and high war bonnet of an In- 
dian chief. He was bent double. The men ahead 
could not see him, but he had his gun leveled 
at them. I knew if he fired he could scarcely miss 
at that range. Some one of my friends must 
be killed. I had halted at sight of him and he 
didn't see me. I had no time to think out the 
situation. 

I brought up my rifle and took what aim I 
could in the deceptive moonlight. When my 
"sights" were just below the war bonnet's feath* 
ers I pulled the trigger. 

The stillness of the river was split by a roar 
as the report echoed from bank to bank. Down 
tumbled the chief, over the edge, rolling over 
and over like a shot rabbit, till he landed plump 
in the water. 

A yell from the band he had led, and a score 



Digitized by 



Google 



6 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

of Indians swarmed up to the bank. But our 
men drove them back and they gave up the at- 
tack as a bad job. At dawn we limped, worn 
out, into Fort Keamy. The soldiers there start- 
ed on a wild-goose chase for the Indians. They 
were never caught. The slashed, scalped bodies 
of our dead were found beside the wrecked, looted 
wagons. 

But the proudest minute I'd ever known came 
when Frank McCarthy swung me up on to his 
shoulder in the Fort Keamy barracks and an- 
nounced to everybody there: 

"Boys, Billy's downed his first Injun! And 
the kid couldn't have made a prettier job of it 
if he'd been a thirty-year scout 1" 



.Xdlfi^ 




Digitized by 



Google 




CHAPTER II 

MY FIEST TRAPPING ADVENTUBES 

I WAS thirteen. My 
mother was building a 
hotel for the use of 
passing gold hunters. 
For this was late in 
1859, when the gold 
fever swept America 
and all roads led to 
Pike's Peak. Our Salt Creek Valley; home lay 
on one of the most traveled routes. 

Hotel building and furnishing are not on the 
free list. So I wanted to help raise money for our 
Valley Grove House. With an older boy, named 
Dave Phillips, I planned a trapping trip. Win- 
ter was setting in when we started. 

We bought an ox-team and wagon to transport 
the traps, camp outfit, and provisions, and took 
along a large supply of ammimition, besides ex- 
tra rifles. Our destination was the Republican 
River. It coursed more than a hundred and fifty 

7 



Digitized by 



Google 



8 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

nules from Leavenworth, but the country about 
it was reputed rich in beaver. I acted as scout 
on the journey, going ahead to pick out trails, 
locate camping grounds, and look out for break- 
ers. The information concerning the beaver 
proved correct; the game was indeed so plentiful 
that we concluded to pitch a permanent camp and 
see the winter out. 

We chose a hollow in a side hill, and enlarged 
it to the dimensions of a decent sized room. A 
chimney fashioned of stones, the open lower part 
doing double duty as a cook-stove and heater; 
the bed was spread in the rear, and the wagon- 
cover sheltered the entrance. A corral of poles 
was built for the oxen, and one comer of it pro- 
tected by boughs. Altogether we accounted our 
winter quarters thoroughly satisfactory and 
agreeable. 

We had seen no Indians on our trip out, and 
were not concerned in that quarter, though we 
were too good plainsmen to relax our vigilance. 
There were other foes, as we discovered the first 
night in our new quarters. We were aroused by 
a commotion in the corral where the oxen were 
confined, and hurrying out with our rifles, we 
found a huge bear intent upon a feast of beef. 
The oxen were bellowing in terror, one of them 
dashing crazily about the enclosure, and the other 
so badly hurt that it could not get up. 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST TRAPPING ADVENTURES 9 

Phillips, who was in the lead, fired first, but 
succeeded only in wounding the bear. Pain was 
now added to the savagery of hunger, and the 
infuriated monster rushed upon Phillips. Dave 
leaped back, but his foot slipped on a bit of ice, 
and he went down with a thud, his rifle flying 
from his hand as he struck. 

A bullet from my rifle entered the distended 
mouth of the onrushing bear and pierced the 
brain, and the huge mass fell lifeless almost across 
Dave's body. 

Phillips' nerves loosened with a snap, and he 
laughed for very relief as he seized my hands. 

"That's the time you saved my life old fel- 
low!" said he. "Perhaps I can do as much for 
you some time." 

"That's the first bear I ever killed," I said, 
more interested in that topic than in the one Dave 
held forth on. 

One of the oxen was found to be mortally hurt, 
and a bullet ended its misery. I then took my 
first lesson in the art of skinning a bear. 

Dave's chance to square his account with me 
came a fortnight later. We were chasing a bunch 
of elk, when I fell, and discovered that I could 
not rise. 

"I'm afraid I have broken my leg," I said, as 
Dave ran to me. 

Phillips had once been a medical student, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



10 .TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

he examined the leg with a professional eye. 
"You're right, Billy; the leg's broken," he re- 
ported. 

iThen he went to work to improvise splints and 
bind up my leg; and this done, he took me on 
his back and bore me to the dugout. Here the 
leg was stripped, and set in carefully prepared 
splints, and the whole bound up securely. 

The outlook was unpleasant, cheerfully as one 
might regard it. Living in the scoop of a side 
hill when one is strong and able to get about and 
keep the blood coursing is one thing; living there 
pent up through a tedious winter is quite another. 
Dave meditated as he worked away at a pair of 
crutches. 

"Tell you what I think I'd better do," said he. 
"The nearest settlement is some eighty miles 
away, and I can get there and back in twenty 
days. Suppose I make the trip, get a team for 
our wagon, and come back for you?" 

The idea of being left alone and well-nigh 
helpless struck dismay to my heart, but there was 
no help for it and I assented. Dave put matters 
into shipshape, piled wood in the dugout, cooked 
a quantity of food and put it where I could reach 
it without rising, and fetched several days' supply 
of water. Mother, ever mindful of my education, 
had put some school-books in the wagon, and 
Dave placed th^3e beside the foQ4 md water, 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST TRAPPING ADVENTURES 11 

When Phillips finally set out, driving the surviv- 
ing ox before him, he left behind a very; lonely^ 
and homesick boy. 

During the first day of my confinement I felt 
too desolate to eat, much less to read; but as I 
grew accustomed to solitude, I derived real pleas- 
ure from the companionship of books. Perhaps 
in all my life I never extracted so much benefit 
from study as diuing that brief period of en- 
forced idleness, when it was my sole means of 
making the dragging hours endurable. Dave, I 
knew, could not return in less than twenty days, 
and one daily task, never neglected, was to cut 
a notch in the stick that marked the humdrum 
passages of the days. Within the week I could 
hobble about on my crutches for a short distance; 
after that I felt more secure. 

A fortnight passed. And one day, weary with 
my studies, I fell asleep over my books. Some 
one touched my shoulder, and looking up I saw 
an Indian in war-paint and feathers. 

"How?" said I, with a show of friendliness, 
though I knew the brave was on the war-path. 

Half a score of bucks followed at the heels of 
the first, squeezing into the little dugout until 
there was barely room for them to sit down. 

With sinking heart I saw them enter, but 1 
plucked up spirit again when the last, a chief| 



Digitized by 



Google 



12 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

pushed in, for in this warrior I recognized an 
Indian that I had once done a good turn. 

Whatever Lo's faults, he never forgets a kind- 
ness any more than he forgets an injury. The 
chief, who went by the name of Rain-in-the-Face, 
at once recognized me and asked me why I was 
in that place. This chief was the father of Rain- 
in-the-Face who, in a later year, killed General 
Custer at the memorable battle of the Little Big 
Horn. I displayed my bandages, and related 
the mishap that had made them necessary, and 
refreshed the chief's memory of a certain occa- 
sion when a blanket and provisions had drifted 
his way. Rain-in-the-Face replied, with proper 
gravity, that he and his chums were out after 
scalps, and confessed to designs upon mine, but 
in consideration of Auld Lang Syne, he would 
spare the paleface boy. 

Auld Lang Syne, however, did not spare the 
blankets and provisions, and the bedizened crew 
stripped the dugout almost bare of supplies; but 
I was thankful enough to see the back of the 
last of them. 

Two days later a blizzard set in. I took an 
inventory, and found that, economy considered, 
I had food for a week; but as the storm would 
surely delay Dave, I put myself on half rations. 

Three weeks were now gone, and I looked for 
Dave momentarily; but as night followed day. 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST TRAPPING ADVENTURES 18 

and day grew into night again, I was given over 
to keen anxiety. Had Phillips lost his way ? Had 
he failed to locate the snow-covered dug- 
out? Had he perished in the storm? Had 
he fallen victim to the Indians ? These and like 
questions haunted me continually. Study became 
impossible, and I lost my appetite for what food 
there was left; but the tally on the stick was kept. 

The twenty-ninth day dawned. Starvation 
stalked into the dugout. The wood, too, was 
well-nigh gone. But great as was my physical 
suffering my mental distress was greater. I 
sat before a handful of fire, shivering and hun- 
gry, wretched and despondent. 

Hark! Was that my name? Choking with 
emotion, unable to articulate, I listened intently. 
Yes, it was my name, and Dave's familiar voice; 
and with all my remaining energy I made an 
answering call. 

My voice enabled Phillips to locate the dug- 
out, and a passage was cleared through the snow. 
And when I saw the door open, the tension on my 
nerves let go and I wept "like a girl." 

"God bless you, Dave I'' I cried, as I clasped 
my friend around the neck. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER III 



CONTRIBUTED LIFE STOBIES OF THE NABAATOB 




An Immigrant Train. 



At this history of my career, 
it may be fitting in me, for 
the reader's enlightenment, 
to introduce here two sketch- 
es kindly penned about me 
by two writers — one narrat- 
ing my "Life Story," which 
appeared some time ago, and 
the other by a contributor in 
1901 to the Wemer Supple- 
ments to the notable Encyclopcedia Britannica, 
issued at Akron, Ohio, which I am permitted to 
incorporate in these pages. I give them as kind 
and gracious accounts of my career, which, I 
doubt not, will be appreciated by the reader as 
they are warmly and heartily appreciated by my- 
self. They are here given in the order I have 
above referred to them: 

"Bom on the frontier in the early *40's, Colo- 
nel W. F. Cody is a striking exhibit of the class 

14 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIFE STORIES OF NARRATOR 15 

of pioneers and settlers that left the shores of 
Europe, crossed the Atlantic, and, with resting 
spells on its shores, continued in each successive 
generation trekking across the vast continent; 
over mountains, vales, rivers and vast prairie 
lands toward the setting sun. His ancestral stock 
dates from a combination of Spanish-English- 
Irish that adventured in 1780 across the Atlantic, 
and increased and multiplied in the Eastern and 
Middle States. His immediate branch crossed 
the Alleghanies into Ohio along the lakes, across 
Indiana and Illinois to the west bank of the Mis- 
sissippi, where he was bom near the present city 
of Davenport, Iowa. At five years of age his 
father and outfit trekked to the west bank of the 
Missouri near Fort Leavenworth, then a frontier 
Indian post. At ten years of age he found him- 
self *the man* of the family, owing to the death of 
his father, who was killed in the internecine strife 
that eventuated in the Civil War. At that 
time he was receiving a man's wages and daring 
the dangers of a courier between the great 
freighting wagon trains of Russell, Majors, 
Waddell & Co. on their trips across the great 
plains to the settlements of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, Salt Lake and the Government forts on 
the frontier. This was an equally dangerous oc- 
cupation as any he afterward followed, as the 
richness of the trains in provisions and valued 



Digitized by 



Google 



16 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

articles of commerce rendered them enticing bait 
for Indians and bandits, who could best effect 
their purpose by capturing or killing the couriers. 
These couriers were practically, to the wagon 
trains, what the scout was to the army, and as an 
information bureau what the wireless telegraphy 
is to their ocean prototj^'pes, the ships of com- 
merce. Then wagon-master, then trapped, hunt- 
er, pony-express rider and stage-coach driver, 
aU giving a varied experience in a school, the 
graduation from which left the scholar an adept 
in every possible line of frontier lore, and fully 
equipped to brave and overcome all the obstacles 
that nature, climate and savage conditions de- 
manded. An exciting experience in the Union 
army as a soldier and eventually as a confidant 
and scout of his commanders in the desultory and 
guerrilla warfare of the Southwest, left him at 
its finish well known as an all-around frontiers- 
man, competent to advise, to guide and to lead. 
These qualities soon brought him to the attention 
of such distinguished commanders as General W. 
T. Sherman, Lieutenant-General Phil Sheridan, 
Generals Crook, Custer, Merritt, Carr, Royal, 
Miles, Dodge and others, and achieved for him 
the position of chief of scouts. His career in 
this line identified him with the great fighting 
epoch between the red man and the white waged 
by Sheridan after the Civil War that temporarily^ 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIFE STORIES OF NARRATOR 17 

ended in 1876, but was effectively finished in the 
Ghost Dance War in tiie decisive battle of 
Wounded Knee in tiie 1890-1891 campaign with 
the Northern Sioux. Since tiien his career is well 
known for the colossal educative exhibition that 
he brought to the attention of East America and 
Eurox)e in 1883, and that has been such a valued 
ethnological, equestrian, military, pioneer and 
Indian history; of types of men, races and class- 
es, and scenes and incidents liiat are passing 
away forever, the people constituting it being the 
real representatives of their kind and, like him- 
self, belonging to the last, lingering human links 
of the chain of events that they perpetuate. His 
work in early life, which brought him fame, has 
thus been supplemented by, in his later years, a 
work whose value as a benefit to the public at 
large will bring him as enduring fame as a great 
educator." 

By permission, fTomEncychpcediaBritannica: 

"CODY, William Feedeeick, an American 
frontiersman and scout, was bom in Scott Coun- 
ty, Iowa, Feb. 26, 1846. His early years were 
passed on the frontier in the midst of Indian 
alarms. During the Civil War he rendered serv- 
ice as a Union scout for several commanders. On 
the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad 



Digitized by 



Google 



18 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

young Cody attached himself to a camp of, 
United States troops protecting the laborers, and 
won his sobriquet of 'Buffalo Bill' by taking a 
contract to supply the entire force with fresh 
buffalo-meat for a certain period, killing, under 
one contract with the Goddard Brothers, 4,280 
buffaloes. Involved in repeated contests with the 
Indians, he became a noted frontier character, 
whose coolness and peaceable disposition were 
only equaled by his bravery in combat. On one 
occasion he killed the noted Cheyenne chief. Yel- 
low Hand, in the presence of Indians and troops. 
He became known to juvenile America in the 
stories of Western adventure written by E. Z. C. 
Judson (*Ned Buntline*), and, with the advance 
of civilization, finding his occupation as a scout 
gone, Cody took for a while to the stage. He 
left the boards on the slightest Indian alarm, and 
on one occasion rode to the front in the gaudy 
trappings of the sensational drama in which he 
had been appearing. Associating himself with 
Nate Salsbury, and observing with considerable 
business instinct the rapid extinction of the fron- 
tiersman who won the West, Cody collected a 
band of Indians, cowboys, rough-riders, unbroken 
broncos and a small herd of buffaloes and com- 
menced a series of exhibitions in the principal 
towns and cities of the American continent. His 
* Wild West/ as he calls it, rapidly grew in j)og-« 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIFE STORIES OF NARRATOR 19 

ular favor. As recreation for the youth and 
reminiscence for the elders, he played to huge 
audiences in almost every town of the Union, and 
undertook a series of tours through the principal 
cities of Europe. Here his fame as a scout 
brought him in contact with the crowned heads 
of the world, and his trip well sustained his repu- 
tation. At the World's Columbian Exposition 
of 1898 he met with considerable success. At 
this period one of his associates, John M. Burke 
('Arizona John'), published a biography of his 
leader, under the title of Buffalo Bill, from 
Prairie to Palace, while at the same time his first 
employer, the veteran Alexander Majors, also 
dealt eulogistically with Cody in a book entitled 
Seventy Years on the Frontier. Eliminating the 
glare of the footlights and the advertising de- 
vices of an aspirant for popular favor, Cody 
must still be considered as a considerable factor 
with others in the winning of the West and as a 
typical instance of the fearless rider of the 
plains." 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER IV 



A PONY-EXPKESS EIDEE AT FOUETEEN 




Pony-Express Rider. 



I WAS fourteen when I be- 
came a pony-express rider. 
I had one or two adven- 
tures in that pursuit which 
may prove interesting to 
read. They were certainly 
interesting enough to me 
at the time. The job was 
worth $125 a month, and 
meant ceaseless danger. 

The importance of the pony-express has, to a 
certain extent, been lost sight of, but it might 
be well to impress on the reader the fact of its 
value at that time in connection with the great 
trouble occurring shortly after its inception be- 
tween the two sections of our coimtry — ^the Civil 
War of 1861. The difficulties of conmiimicating 
with the newly acquired empire on the Pacific 
through the route via Panama or the passage 
around Cape Horn would have left effective in- 



Digitized by 



Google 



A PONY-EXPRESS RIDER 21 

formation stale, flat, and unprofitable, on account 
of the time, and the fact that the southwest sec- 
tion was not open for communication to the 
Union authorities at Washington emphasized its 
necessity. 

The immense territory acquired by us from 
Mexico was inhabited in 1849 by a very cosmo- 
politan class of people from all parts of the 
world, gathered thither in search of gold-dust, in- 
cluding adventurers and intelligent men of am- 
bition, with a strong element of the old Spanish 
regime still predominating. It is an historical 
fact that in the then puzzled condition of the dif- 
ferent sections of the United States, on account 
of the lack of communication, it was feared that 
there would be a general dissolution and two or 
three independent nations or republics instituted, 
one of which would be on the Pacific Coast. 

The pony-express, by giving the Grovemment 
facilities for quick conmiunication — quick for 
those days — ^was enabled to keep in touch with 
every movement, and counteract in an effective 
manner what might have resulted in a separation 
from us of our grand Pacific possessions. 

Its service had been repeatedly suggested to 
Congress, but after several years of agitation it 
failed of Government assistance, through the 
then disunited aims of many congressional lead- 
ers, and eventually it was undertaken by Messrs. 



Digitized by 



Google 



22 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

Russell, Majors, Waddell & Co., at their own risk 
and responsibility, a public-spirited, patriotic ac- 
tion for which they never received proper finan- 
cial recognition. 

This was the great Grovemment freighting 
firm, under whom I had served as courier be- 
tween their overland wagon trains. Its object 
was to cover the vast telegraphic gap between 
New York and San Francisco, which began at 
St. Joe, Mo., and ended at Sacramento, Cal., 
with greater speed — a distance of more than two 
thousand miles, through a country totally unin- 
habited, bar savage Indians. At that time it 
took months for Congressmen and Government 
officials to reach the Golden Gate or to arrive at 
Washington, and it took from twenty-two to 
twenty-five days to send a message from New 
York to San Francisco across the continent. It 
had taken stage-coaches three weeks or more to 
go from the Missouri River to Sacramento. By 
means of relay stations, 200 in nimiber, employ- 
ing 600 hardy ponies and from 80 to 100 expert 
riders, my employers made it possible for des- 
patches and messages, written on tissue paper so 
as to avoid all unnecessary weight, to be carried 
that distance on the backs of swift ponies in from 
eight to ten days. The route chosen is now 
traversed by the Union Pacific Railroad, in those 



Digitized by 



Google 



A PONY-EXPRESS RIDER 28 

days an almost trackless wilderness^ swarming 
with Indians and highwaymen. 

On the 8d of April, 1859, two riders started, 
one from St. Joe, Mo., and one from Sacra- 
mento, Cal. At the start, the despatch-bags 
would be thrown over a pony's saddle. The rider 
woxild momit and ride at top speed to the first re- 
lay station. There a fresh pony would be '^vaiting, 
on whose back the despatch-bags would be hastily 
thrown. Then off again, and so on till the "re- 
lief" rider would snatch the bags and dash off 
with them for the next lap of the long race. The 
relays averaged fifteen miles apart. Forty-five 
to 105 miles semi-weekly each way at full speed 
^>ver rough country was a rider's daily "stunt.'' 
Riders started at 45-mile trips and as they be- 
came hardened took the longer trips, which 
naturally brought them larger pay. This was not 
an easy job for a fourteen-year-old boy. But I 
stuck to it in spite of aching bones and a tired 
head. 

For the first three months I had no mishaps. 
I began to think the talk of danger was all bosh. 
Then, as I was galloping around a curve on a hill- 
side trail one day, I rode flush up to a leveled 
pistol. The man behind it told me to throw up 
my hands. I obeyed. There is no use arguing 
with a loaded pistol. Frontiersmen in those days 
shot to kill. The road agent dismounted and 



Digitized by 



Google 



24 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

walked up to me to take my saddle-bags. I tried 
to look scared and harmless. He lowered his 
revolver as he reached for the bags. Just then 
I whirled my pony around. The little horse's 
plunge knocked the man off his feet, and a stray 
kick from one of the iron-shod hoofs grazed the 
fellow's head, knocking him senseless. 

Having no further interest in him, I was glad 
enough to make my escape, and rode in safety 
in time to the next station. 

Here is a further adventure of import: 

One day I galloped up to a relay station and 
found no relief pony waiting for me. Not a soul 
was in sight. But I heard men yelling and shoot- 
ing down by the corral, back of the station. I 
jumped off, rifle in one hand, and my twenty- 
pound pouches in the other, and made for the 
trees that hid the corral from the trail. I 
thought from the noise that there must be an 
Indian raid there at least. 

I reached the little clearing above the corral in 
time to see a gigantic buffalo-buU charge through 
a bunch of cattle and rush on toward the door- 
yard of the station. Four or five men were yell- 
ing at the top of their lungs and blazing away 
at him with guns and revolvers. But if any of 
the shots reached the brute they only served to 
madden him all the more. It was no business of 
mine, so I stood there laughing at their excite- 



Digitized by 



Google 



A PONY-EXPRESS RIDER 25 

ment. But all at once I stopped laughing and 
turned sick at what I saw. 

There, near the door of the cabin, playing with 
a big wooden doll, sat a little girl, perhaps three 
years old. She wore a little red cloak, and the 
bright bit of color had caught the mad buffalo's 
'attention. Down at the unconscious playing 
baby charged the great, furious brute. The men 
saw her peril just when I did, and they fired 
\^dldly and came forward at a dead rup. But 
they were too far away. 

A woman ran screaming out of the house and 
rushed toward the child. She had no weapon of 
any kind, and probably couldn't have used one if 
she had. But, I suppose, mother-love made her 
forget the horrible peril and she wanted to die 
with her little girl. Women are sometimes 
braver, I think, than men, especially where their 
children are concerned. 

The buffalo was not fifteen yards away from 
the child when I brought my rifle instinctively to 
my shoulder. I wouldn't give myself time to 
think what must happen if I should miss. It 
was one of those times when a man must not fail 
in his aim. 

Just then the baby looked up and saw the mur- 
derous brute. She clapped both hands and gave 
a squeal of delight. She probably thought the 
beast was some new sort of playmate. 



Digitized by 



Google 



26 TRUE TALES OF THE POlINS 

!Ajs she called out, I fired! 

The buffalo's legs seemed to tuck themselves 
up under him. The impetus of his rush carried 
him along the ground full ten feet, and he came 
to a stop with his head not six inches from the 
little girl's knee, stone-dead. 

Then, after the men had pounded me on the 
back till I was sore, the child's mother insisted 
on kissing me. How a healthy fourteen-year-old 
boy does loathe to be kissed! 

Although among the youngest of the coimers, 
I seemed to have filled the bill and was promoted 
(as was Johnny Fry) to $150 per month — 
but to a more dangerous route. 

My age at the time of riding the pony-express 
will naturally create attention, and possibly sur- 
prise, from the readers of the present day, as the 
youth at that age in the West — from fourteen to 
sixteen — ^was in many respects a man from the 
time he could shoulder a rifle or fire a pistol — 
with all a man's responsibility, bar voting. Of 
course, I suppose in the centers of manufacture, 
indoor work, or in mines, it is necessary to pro- 
tect children under the Child Labor Law; but 
the conditions were such on the frontier that the 
boy acquired an early experience, and both the 
Indian boys and the white boys, at the age of 
fourteen or fifteen, were ranked in every way as 



Digitized by 



Google 



A PONY-EXPRESS RIDER 27 

factors to be accounted for on any occasions that 
arose demanding energy, stamina and pluck. 

Hundreds of other boys at that time were in 
the same class as myself, ready, willing, and 
able to do and dare — ^Kttle men. 

The importance to the white man of quick com- 
munication soon dawned on the Indians and 
aroused theA ijp; special endeavors to harass, in- 
tercept, and kill off the messengers in charge of 
this work. Consequently, after the first few 
weeks, pony-express riding became probably one 
of the most dangerous occupations known in the 
world's history, and my new route was the limit. 

The reader can imagine that it was lonely; it 
demanded endurance above the ordinary to defy 
the summer's heat and winter's snow storms and 
blizzards; skill in crossing temporary bridges and 
dangerous streams, with shifting fords and 
treacherous quicksands, which had to be often got 
over at night; sometimes swollen torrents, and 
horses and riders had to swim, momentarily liable 
to ambush by the ever-alert savages — ^then the 
monarchs of the prairies. The reader wiU under- 
stand that the Indian was master of all the coun- 
try outside the rifle-range of station or fort. This 
gave to the very atmosphere a sense of continual 
peril, making possible a death so horrible that 
its possibility was as trying to the imagination as 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



28 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

capture made its decree a certainty, with all the 
horrors of torture. 

That many riders met this fateful end is his- 
tory, while other escapes were simply miraculous. 
Those who came out alive on the arrival at a 
station often found that one of the riders had 
fallen a victim to the savage foe, and had to take 
up his burden, and in such cases he had to pound 
the saddle over the stiff country for another hun- 
dred miles. The fact that the dead body was of- 
ten somewhere along the trail, of course did not 
add pleasant thoughts to the journey. Noth- 
ing but a quick perception and rapidity of action 
—and, seemingly, intmtive knowledge when dan- 
ger threatened — and the angel of good luck as- 
sisted me to escape many a close call. Several 
times I had bullets through my buckskins, twice 
through my saddle, and on one occasion my 
sturdy mount received a bad flesh wound. On 
two occasions my good marksmanship saved me 
at the expense of the roster of the Sioux braves 
by sending two at different times to their happy 
hunting grounds. On several occasions I had to 
resimie the route of slaughtered coimers, notably 
on one occasion, which stands as possibly a record 
in the story of this dangerous duty. While rid- 
ing between the Red Buttes of tlie Platte and 
the Three Crossings of the Sweetwater, I had 
what was considered a most difficult and lonely 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



\ 



'«l 




CHIEI'^ IRON TAIL, NOW WITH BUFFALO BILL S WILD WEST 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



A PONYEXPRESS RIDER 20 

route. On reaching Three Crossings I found 
the rider of the next division had been killed the 
night before, which necessitated my covering his 
route, and, on arrival there, the rider who should 
have been on hand had not turned up, having been 
killed, as was afterward ascertained, so I was 
compelled to ride the two routes without stop, ex- 
cept for meals and change of horses, successfully 
making the journey (or round trip) without 
sleep, only stopping to change horses and snatch 
a hasty meal. This ride created a sensation, so I 
will quote from an authority best able to place it 
on record as an historical fact, namely, Alexander 
Majors himself, in his book of Seventy Years on 
the Frontier: 

"Among the most noted and daring riders of 
the pony-express was Hon. William F. Cody, 
better known as ^Buffalo Bill,' whose reputation 
is now established the world over. While en- 
gaged in the express service, his route lay be- 
tween Red Buttes and Three Crossings. It was 
a most dangerous, long, and lonely trail, includ- 
ing perilous crossings of swollen and turbulent 
streams. An average of fifteen miles an hour 
had to be made, including change of horses, de- 
tours for safety, and time for meals. Once, upon 
reaching Three Crossings, he found that the rider 
on the next division had been killed dimng the 
night before, and he was called on to make the 



Digitized by 



Google 



80 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

extra trip until another rider could be procured. 
This was a request the compliance with which 
would involve the most taxing labors, and an en- 
durance few persons are capable of; nevertheless, 
young Cody was promptly on hand for the addi- 
tional journey, and reached Rocky Ridge, the 
limit of the second route, on time. This round 
trip, of 821 miles, was made without a stop, ex- 
cept for meals and to change horses, and every 
station on the route was entered on time. This is 
one of the longest and best ridden pony-express 
joimieys ever made, the entire distance (821 
miles) being covered in 21 hours and 80 min- 
utes." 




Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER V 



HUNTING FOE BEAB AND FINDING HOESE THIEVES 




I HAVE often been asked for 
stories about the "bad men'' 
of the West in the early days. 
Later on in this series I shall 
have more perhaps to say 
about them. I am going to 
tell now of my first "run-in" 
with the worst kind of white 
men that then infested the frontier. These were 
horse thieves. And horse-stealing in those days 
was a crime that came close in ranking with cold- 
blooded murder. 

Sometimes a horse thief was a discharged team- 
ster, sometimes a loafer, sometimes a professional 
"bad man," who chose this easy way of making 
plenty of money. These men once in a while 
worked singly, but of tener in bands large enough 
to herd and drive a large bimch of stolen horses. 
Once I wanted a big grizzly bear skin; or, 
rather, one of my sisters wanted it for a rug. I 

81 



Digitized by 



Google 



82 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

had promised, as soon as I should have tune, to 
get her one. For even in those times a big griz- 
zly could not be shot in one's dooryard. It meant 
a long trip through the hills, and more than a 
little danger. * 

A light snow had fallen, and I started on horse- 
back for the hills beyond Horseshoe Station. I 
ran across plenty of antelope tracks, but not a 
trace did I get of bear until after one o'clock that 
afternoon. Then I came upon the trail of one. 
It looked as if a giant had been walking through 
the snow on all-fours. My horse snorted and 
fidgeted. From that I knew Bruin was not far 
oflF. I was about to dismount when my horse 
plunged violently. There, not eighty feet away, 
stood a grizzly! 

As I looked, he reared himself on his hind legs. 
He seemed to stand as high as a moimtain. It is 
unusual for a bear to turn on his pursuers at that 
distance. I suppose something had happened to 
make him angry. For there he was. He had evi- 
dently just come out of the bushes. 

I aimed as well as I could, and by good luck 
I planted the first shot in the right place. Down 
came the bear. Before going closer, I sent in 
two more bullets; for a still bear isn't always a 
dead bear. Then I skinned Bruin and strapped 
his pelt on my excited horse's back, just behind 
the saddle. 



Digitized by 



Google 



HUNTING FOR BEAR 88 

I started back, but the going was bad. By sun- 
set I saw I couldn't hope to get back to camp that 
night. So I looked about for a good, sheltered 
spot to camp. Just then my horse whinnied. His 
call was answered from a hollow just behind the 
creek-bed along which I was riding. I dismount- 
ed, fastened him, and, rifle in hand, went on to 
investigate. 

There, hidden in a little gulch, were about 
twenty horses. They weren't guarded. Looking 
around in the dusk, I saw a dug-out, about a 
hundred yards up the hill. Lights appeared 
through the cracks. I clambered up to learn who 
was there. 

I knocked at the blanket door. The voices 
I had heard as I climbed the slope were 
hushed all at once. Then I heard a half-dozen 
sharp clicks. That meant the cocking of rifles or 
revolvers. I began to wonder what company I 
had stumbled into. Before I could move back, 
some one called: 

"Who's there?" 

"A friend and a white man," I replied. 

The door opened, and a big, ugly-looking fel- 
low stepped forth and said: 

"Come in." 

I accepted the invitation with some degree of 

fear and hesitation, which I endeavored to con- 

' ceal, as I thought it was too late to back out. 



Digitized by 



Google 



84 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

and that it would never do to weaken at that 
point, whether they were friends or foes. Upon 
entering the dugout my eyes fell upon eight as 
rough and villainous looking men as I ever saw 
in my life. Two of them I instantly recognized 
as teamsters who had been driving in Lew Simp- 
son's train, a few months before, and had been 
discharged. 

They were charged with the murdering and 
robbing of a ranchman; and, having stolen his 
horses, it was supposed that they had left the 
country. I gave them no signs of recognition, 
however, deeming it advisable to let them remain 
in ignorance as to who I was. It was a hard 
crowd, and I concluded the sooner I could get 
away from them the better it w^uld be for me. 
I felt confident that they were a band of horse 
thieves. 

"Where are you going, kid, and who's with 
you?" asked one of the men, who appeared to 
be the leader of the gang. 

"I am entirely alone. I left Horseshoe Sta- 
tion this morning for a bear hunt, and not find- 
ing any bears I had determined to camp out for 
the night and wait tiU morning," said I; "and 
just as I was going into camp a few himdred 
yards down the creek, I heard one of your horses 
whinnying, and then I came to your camp." 

I thus was explicit in my statement, in order. 



Digitized by 



Google 



HUNTING FOR BEAR 85 

if possible, to satisfy the cut-throats that I was 
not spying upon them, but that my intrusion was 
entirely accidental. 

"Where's your horse?" demanded the boss 
thief. 

"I left him down at the creek," I answered. 

They proposed going after the horse, but I 
thought that would never do, as it would leave 
me without any means of escape, and I accord- 
ingly said, in hopes to throw them off the track, 
"Captain, I'll leave my gun here and go down and 
get my horse, and come back and stay all night." 

I said this in as cheerful and as careless a man- 
ner as possible, so as not to arouse their suspi- 
cions in any way or lead them to think that I 
was aware of Ibheir true character. I hated to 
part with my gun, but my suggestion of leaving 
it was a part of the plan of escape which I had 
arranged. If they have the gun, thought I, they 
will surely believe that I intend to come back. 
But this little game did not work at all, as one 
of the desperadoes spoke up and said: 

"Jim and I will go down with you after your 
horse, and you can leave your gun here all the 
same, as you'll not need it." 

"All right," I replied, for I could certainly 
have done nothing else. It became evident to 
me that it would be better to trust myself with 
two men than with the whole party. It was ap- 



Digitized by 



Google 



36 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

parent from this time on I would have to be 
on the alert for some good opportmiity to give 
them the slip. 

"Come along," said one of them, and together 
we went down the creek, and soon came to the 
spot where my horse was tied. One of the men 
unhitched the animal, and said: "I'll lead the 
horse." 

"Very well," said I; "IVe got a couple of sage 
hens here. Lead on." 

I picked up the sage hens which I had killed 
a few hours before, and followed the man who 
was leading the horse, while his companion 
brought up the rear. The nearer we approached 
the dugout, the more I dreaded the idea of going 
back among the villainous cut-throats. My first 
plan of escape having failed, I now determined 
upon another. I had both of my revolvers with 
me, the thieves not having thought it necessary 
to search me. It was now quite dark, and I pur- 
posely dropped one of the sage hens, and asked 
the man behind me to pick it up. While he was 
himting for it on the groimd, I quickly pulled 
out one of my Colt's revolvers and struck him a 
tremendous blow on the back of the head, knock- 
ing him senseless to the ground. I then instant- 
ly wheeled aroimd and saw that the man ahead, 
who was only a few feet distant, had heard the 
blow and had turned to see what was the matter, 



Digitized by 



Google 




BLUE SHIELD, SIOUX CHIEF. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



HUNTING FOR BEAR 87 

his hand upon his revolver. We faced each other 
at about the same instant, but before he could 
fire, as he tried to do, I shot him dead in his 
tracks. Then jumping on my horse, I rode down 
the creek as fast as possible, through the dark- 
ness and over the rough ground and rocks. 

The other outlaws in the dugout, having heard 
the shot which I had fired, knew there was 
trouble, and they all came rushing down the 
creek. I suppose by the time they reached 
the man whom I had knocked down, that he had 
recovered and hurriedly told them of what had 
happened. They did not stay with the man whom 
I had shot, but came on in hot pursuit of me. 
They were not mounted, and were making better 
time down the rough moimtain than I was on 
horseback. From time to time I heard them 
gradually gaining on me. 

At last they came so near that I saw that I 
must abandon my horse. I jimaped to the 
ground, and gave him a hard slap with the butt 
of one of my revolvers, which started him on 
down the valley, while I scrambled up the moun- 
tain side. I had not ascended more than forty 
feet when I heard my pursuers coming closer and 
closer; I quickly hid behind a large pine tree, and 
in a few moments they all rushed by me, being 
led on by the rattling footsteps of my horse, 
which they heard ahead of them. Soon they be- 



Digitized by 



Google 



88 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

gan firing in the direction of the horse, as they 
no douht supposed I was still seated on his hack. 
As soon as they had passed me I climbed further 
up the steep mountain, and knowing that I had 
given them the slip, and feeling certain I could 
keep out of their way, I at once struck out for 
Horseshoe Station, which was twenty-five miles 
distant. I had very hard traveling at first, but 
upon reaching lower and better ground I made 
good headway, walking all night and getting into 
the station just before daylight— footsore, weary, 
and generally played out. 

I immediately waked up the men of the station 
and told them of my adventure. Slade himself 
happened to be there, and he at once organized 
a party to go out in pursuit of the horse thieves. 
Shortly after daylight twenty well armed stage 
drivers, stock tenders, and ranchmen were gal- 
loping in the direction of the dugout. Of course 
I went along with the party, notwithstanding that 
I was very tired and had had hardly time for 
any rest at all. We had a brisk ride, and arrived 
in the immediate vicinity of the thieves' rendez- 
vous at about ten o'clock in the morning. We 
approached the dugout cautiously, but upon get- 
ting in close proximity to it we could discover 
no horses in sight. No one was inside, and the 
general appearance of everything indicated that 



Digitized by 



Google 



HUNTING FOR BEAR 89 

the place had been deserted — ^that the birds had 
flown. Such, indeed, proved to be the case. 

We found a new-made grave, where they had 
evidently buried the man whom I had shot. We 
made a thorough search of the whole vicinity, 
and finally found their trail going southeast in 
the direction of Denver. As it would have been 
useless to follow them, we rode back to the sta- 
tion, and thus ended my eventful bear-hunt* We 
had no trouble for some time after that. 




Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER VI 



ADVENTURES AS A CIVIL WAB SCOUT 




William F. Cody. 



When the Civil War broke out 
there were many of us in Kansas 
with old grudges to settle. I for 
one remembered my father's suf- 
ferings at the hands of the Pro- 
Slavery Party, and I was eager 
to enlist. But for the first two 
years my mother refused her 
consent, as I was the main sup- 
port of the family. It was 
not until early in 1864, when I was eighteen, that 
I was able to join the Union army. 

I enlisted at Fort Leavenworth in the Seventh 
Kansas (known as "Jennison's Jayhawkers") 
Regiment, and we were sent to Memphis, Term., 
to General A. J. Smith's army. The Confeder- 
ate General Forrest, with his army, was camped 
only a few miles away. 

I had expected to lead the life and fight the 
fights of the average soldier. In which case my; 

40 



Digitized by 



Google 



AS A CIVIL WAR SCOUT 41 

war adventures would have no place in this 
series. But there was different work in store for 
me. Greneral Smith happened to have heard of 
my work on the plains. I hadn't been in camp 
three days when he sent for me. 

I thought a General in talking to a newly 
joined private would put on a lordly air. But 
Smith didn't. He talked quietly, and in a rather 
friendly fashion, explaining to me that it was 
necessary he should learn more about the Con^? 
federate position, numbers, plans and arma- 
ment. In other words, that I was to risk hang- 
ing by going into Forrest's camp in civilian 
clothes and pick up what information I could. 

I knew what this meant. If I were caught 
I should be hanged. It was a risk no man cares 
to take. To be shot or cut down in a cavalry 
charge is one thing; to die by hanging is quite 
another. But it was service for the Union. So 
I accepted the mission. 

While I was still in the General's tent a Con- 
federate spy who had just been captured was 
brought in. I recognized the fellow as a Kan- 
san I'd known as a boy. As soon as he had been 
examined and taken away to the guard-house I 
pointed to the Union plans and maps that had 
been taken from him. An idea had come to me. 

"If you'll change those so as to make their in- 
formation useless, sir," said I, ''I can win m][- 



Digitized by 



Google 



'42 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

self a welcome from Forrest by; carrying them 
to him/' 

I put on my civilian clothes and rode straight 
to the Confederate camp. The pickets held me 
up. I said I had private information for Gen- 
eral Forrest. I was passed from man to man till 
at last I found myself in the great cavalry lead- 
er's tent. 

Forrest was the sort of man who didn't im- 
press one as being especially gentle or easy to 
fool. I saw I'd need all the wits Heaven had 
given me, and that if I failed to convince the 
General I could expect little mercy. But the 
game must be played as the cards lay. It was 
too late now to turn back. 

I told him the Kansas spy was a chum of mine 
and had entrusted some maps and plans to me, 
because he still had work to do within the Union 
lines. As I spoke I handed Forrest the altered 
documents Smith had given me. Forrest eyed 
me sharply. 

"Why did you consent to bring these to me?" 
he asked. 

"Well, sir," I stammered bashfully, "I thought 
maybe if I did you the favor you'd give me a 
job in your scout service. I'm a plainsman and 
used to scouting." 

He cross-examined me, asking all sorts of 
questions. At last I could see he was satisfied 



Digitized by 



Google 



AS A CIVIL WAR SCOUT 48 

that I was all right. He packed me off to the 
scouts' quarters and promised to give me a chance 
as soon as one should arise. 

That was what I wanted. I used the next three 
days to good advantage and picked up all the 
information Smith needed. Then I began to 
grow restless. I was ready for Forrest to send 
me on some mission so that I could get back to 
Smith as soon as I was clear of the Confederate 
h'nes. 

But he didn't seem in a hurry to make use of 
my services. I figured that I'd have to steal 
secretly out of camp if I was to go at all. This 
is harder than it soimds, in war-time. The mat* 
ter, however, was settled for me very suddenly;] 
and without any act of mine. 

On the fourth morning, as I was loafing idly 
about, I saw a man go into Forrest's tent. As he 
entered I recognized him. It was the Kansas 
spy. He had evidently escaped and had just re- 
turned to report to Forrest. All of a sudden my 
neck-kerchief began to feel as if it was a rope. My 
game was up. In five minutes, at most, Forrest 
would know. 

I got to my horse, saddled him, and rode care- 
lessly toward the outposts, twirling in one hand 
a letter at whose address I kept looking now and 
then. The trick served well. No one stopped me 
imtil I was close to the outer picket lines. 



Digitized by 



Google 



44 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

Then I heard a pounding of hoofs, a yell and 
a shot. Behind came a dozen horsemen. They 
were after me. It was a case of ridel And I 
rode. 

I dropped, Indian fashion, over my galloping 
horse's mane, and a picket's shot grazed my shoul- 
der. A little storm of bullets from the riders 
spattered all around me. OflP flew my hat, pimc- 
tured. One of my stirrups was clipped by an- 
other ball. My horse was slightly woimded, too. 
A Confederate scout flashed into sight before me. 
We both flred. His horse reared and fell. And 
I passed on. 

It was a hot race while it lasted, and only 
ended when I burst through a strip of woods into 
the very arms of a company of Union skirmishers. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER VII 



ViLD bill" and how HE KILLED TEN "bAD MEN" 




"Wild BiU" Hickok. 



At this time in my career I 
formed many acquaintances 
among the yomiger men of 
the plains, who afterward 
achieved distinction, and who, 
as youths, had shown their 
possession of sturdy qualities 
that evoked recognition and 
admiration. Many were dis- 
appointed afterward; some 
became distinctive celebrities, 
useful in some particular line of work which the 
peculiar conditions existing on the frontier cre- 
ated. Many a young conu-ade gave up his life 
and passed to the Great Divide early in the game, 
while others survived through ordeds of the most 
trying nature, in actual peril and thrilling epi- 
sodes, some of which are almost beyond belief. 

Among one of my earliest acquaintances was a 
j[oung man, older than myself, who was destined 

45 



Digitized by 



Google 



46 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

to become famed in frontier history, while at the 
same time legendary gossip has caused his career 
to be somewhat mismiderstood, owing to its 
varied character. This was James B. Hickok, 
who, although his name was James, will live in 
song and story as "Wild Bill." This name was 
attached to him through a misimderstanding, or 
a case of mistaken identity. His elder brother, 
William, or "Bill" Hickok, had for years been a 
celebrated plainsman, and famed, especially, as 
one of the best wagon-masters who took charge 
of the great Grovemment trains, with all their 
responsibilities. He consequently had become 
famous for courage, ability to command men, de- 
fend the interests of his employers, stand off the 
Indians and bandits that preyed upon the wagon 
trains, and command the dare-devil spirits that 
were often the component parts of the outfit. In 
fact, the wagon-master was on the plains with 
immensely valuable freight and cargoes crossing 
to the Pacific Coast; he held a position similar to 
that of the captain of a ship on the ocean. The 
assistant wagon-masters were, like the first, sec- 
ond and third oflScers, absolute in power, out of 
range of the law's protection on just as vast a sea 
of prairie as the ocean's bosom; they had to show 
the nerve to command obedience and instil fear 
to carry through the enterprise safely. William 
Hickok^ in achieving this enviable position, was 



Digitized by 



Google 



"WILD BILK* 47 

known to a limited circle as "Wild Bill Hickok'* 
when he went on a round-up of discontented men 
or bandits. Young James rose rapidly and be- 
came involved in so many "little affairs of a per- 
sonal character," in which he invariably "got his 
man/' that rumor identified his actions with the 
person of the elder William, and he became 
branded with the cognomen "Wild Bill Hickok." 
The elder brother acquired a competency 
and retired to a farm near Mendota, HI.; the 
younger brother became at last one of the most 
noted of plainsmen. Plainsmen at that time were 
imique characters, especially those bom on the 
borders, or joining at a time of impressionable 
youth, and were the creation of the peculiar con- 
ditions which obtained in the rough-hewing of 
the nation, and reared in the necessities and ardu- 
ous duties of the early West. 

The young men of to-day know little of him 
for what he has done in the early days, as the 
changing conditions have brought about a state 
of things which has removed the necessity for his 
existence; he belongs to history only, and the 
stories of his exploits are all that remain to re- 
mind the rising generation of the early trials and 
hardships of the old pioneer life. Conditions are 
now so thoroughly altered as to be almost incon- 
ceivable at the present time, and the stories of 
th§ old days savor to the present generation more 



Digitized by 



Google 



48 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

of romance and fancy than of fact. As in all 
lines of human endeavor, among minor charac- 
ters, mediocre and otherwise, a few stand out 
who might be called "the great ones/' Without 
reflecting upon the great army of nation build- 
ers who have wrought wonders in the western 
portion of the coxmtry and led the band of pio- 
neers, there are some who made them almost 
specialists. In this respect, "Wild Bill" will 
stand unique as a man, not without some faults 
as judged by the Sunday-school standard, but 
whose rough nature in fight showed a defiance of 
danger or death almost of a demon kind, so that 
it might be said that he was not only a most fit- 
ting man for the occasion, but the personification, 
in many localities, of the first rude enforcement of 
law and order. VlTiile probably no man in west- 
em history had so many notches on his gun, it 
may be said that no man recorded them oftener 
in defending right, enforcing law, and dealing 
justice. Our friendship in boyhood causes me, 
therefore, to allude to Wm, in this early stage of 
my reminiscences, as an interlude in my own per- 
sonal story, of one, while verging somewhat on 
different lines, with whom I was closely identified. 
In our early youth we were, incidentally, as- 
sociated in many adventures on the plains in In- 
dian warfare, wagon-trailing, hunting and trap- 
ping, and we happened to be on the same side of 



Digitized by 



Google 



^'WILDBILL** 4« 

the fence when the Civil War between the North 
and the South left the plains almost alone to the 
red man. The freighters, generally, separated 
and took sides with either the Union or the Con- 
federate forces, raising independent conMnissions 
and bands that made a peculiar chapter in the 
history of the Southwest in what was and wiU be 
forever a bloody page known as guerrilla war- 
fare. Inured to hardships and dangers, and well 
equipped for war, stratagem and spoils, the spirit 
of partisanship ran so feverishly strong, so bitter- 
ly vindictive, as to cause them to exceed, in their 
loyalty to one party or the other, the strict rules 
of war — ^in fact, at times to ignore the attributes 
of civilized contests and to partake of the nature 
of the savage. 

For instance, Quantrell and his famed rangers 
were important factors in the desultory story on 
one side, and the command to which I had the 
honor to belong, and of which I feel proud, 
known as the "Kansas Jayhawkers" and Red 
Leg Scouts, at times also showed a fervency in 
their cause that would not meet with the approba- 
tion of the commission at The Hague. 

"Wild Bill" soon became one of the most noted 
men in the confidence of the Union generals in 
the extreme Southwest, the country being famil- 
iar to him, and, as his ancestors had come from 
New England and he was bom in Illinois, he 



Digitized by 



Google 



50 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

had embodied an intense feeling for that side of 
the struggle. Six foot two, broad-chested, meas- 
uring fifty inches around, with a waist that you 
could almost span, a foot like a woman, long, 
blond hair whidi glistened like gold in the sun- 
light, and with muscles equaling any trained ath- 
lete or prizefighter, he was a magnificent speci- 
men of manhood and one of the most deadly shots 
with rifle or pistol that ever lived. Moreover, he 
was an expert horseman, with nerves like steel, 
and a heart as brave as the proverbial lion; he 
seemed, therefore, especially fitted to his job. In 
his enthusiasm as a Union spy, he made a detour 
around, down into Texas and back to Southwest 
Missouri, and joined the Texans under an as- 
sumed name and accepted service as a Confeder- 
ate spy, consequently giving himself the double 
danger of a spy's fate. Therefore, by this means, 
he became of immense service to the Union 
forces. 

For many months he was confidential secret- 
service agent for the Confederate forces under 
General Price in an invasion of Kansas, and in 
one battle, while among their advance-guard, he 
saw a maneuver of which he thought the Union 
Greneral should be informed. He therefore made 
a dash from the rebel to the opposing lines. His 
action was so sudden that the Southerners 
thought his horse had become unruly. The au- 



Digitized by 



Google 



"WILD BILL" 51 

dacity of his movements did not dawn on ihem 
for a few moments, when, with yells, a squad took 
up hot pursuit. Both armies watched in breath- 
less suspense, but, always famed for picking su- 
perior moxmts, he quickly distanced all save one, 
who followed close up behind him, firing several 
shots which whistled close to his ear. Just when 
Hickok's horse was compelled to vault a small 
creek he turned in his saddle, and, with his un- 
erring aim, dropped the gallant pursuer from 
his horse and rode safely into the Union lines. 
Here he delivered his information to General 
Fleasanton, which turned the tide of the day. He 
was captured, however, a short time after and 
condemned to death. Aregimentof Unioncavalry 
was prowling on the outskirts of the rebel army, 
with special orders to rescue him if possible; and 
at daylight an impromptu obituary service was 
said in his memory, as he was a great favorite 
with the men. At this juncture, the videttes an- 
nounced a strange movement in front, where a 
Confederate officer in complete uniform was seen 
dashing madly toward the Union command, and 
half a mile behind, following, a squad of cavalry. 
It turned out to be "Wild Bill," who had quietly 
succeeded in getting a strangle hold on the guard, 
and, with his powerful grip, had choked him to 
death and taken his place on guard. He called 
for the officer of the day, who suffered the same 



Digitized by 



Google 



62 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

fate. He then took the oflBcer's coat and equip- 
ment, and "naUing" the first horse, he leisurely 
rode out of camp and was received with a grand 
ovation when he was recognized as he rode up to 
his old conmiand, who had given him up for "a 
goner," The memorable affairs in which he was 
engaged during the war were the cause of many 
others after its close — friends, relatives and ac- 
quaintances all wanting revenge. 

It was such a legacy that he fell heir to that 
necessitated the famous duel with Captain Dave 
Tutt, which was fought in the presence of the 
citizens of Springfield, Mo., with the judges and 
grand jury on the court-house steps, and the win- 
dows on the public square closed. At the first 
exchange of shots, Hickok's left ear was slightly 
creased, and Captain Tutt fell dead, shot 
through the heart. 

In Abilene, Kan., when he was marshal — ^his 
predecessor having been taken by the "bad men," 
who placed his head on the block and chopped it 
off like a chicken — ^he restored law and order in a 
personal fight, killing four men. At the opening 
up of many towns he was secured as marshal, and 
the better classes depended solely upon him for 
protection. This threw considerable responsibili- 
ty upon his shoulders, as he really became judge, 
jury and executioner. His career was filled with 
these episodes and with others which grew out 



Digitized by 



Google 



"WILD BILL" 58 

of his successes, but probably the most noted 
event in his career was his single-handed fight 
with Jacob McCandles and his gang of nine men, 
at Rock Creek, Western Kansas, while riding 
pony-express in 1861. This was his first great 
fight, while covering his route, armed only with 
two Colt's revolvers. He halted at Rock Creek 
station to find the stock-tender dead and his wife 
excited by his presence. As he approached, she 
exclaimed: 

"My heavens. Bill, McCandles and his gang 
are in the neighborhood, or were so this mom- 
ingl"^ 

This gang of bandits had been laying a trap 
for Hickok to get him out of the way. Rushing 
to the door to remount and get back, he saw 
several heads pop up out of the grass, and a bul- 
let struck the door- jamb. Jiunping back and 
telling the lady to escape, he was fortunate to find 
a loaded rifle left by the husband, and which the 
McCandles gang did not think of, as they saw 
that Bill was only armed with six-shooters. 
There was some raillery and badinage between 
him and McCandles of a defiant nature, when 
McCandles and nine bandits rose and, with a 
yell, charged for the door. They depended on 
taking the chance of losing some of their men 
and made a quick charge. Bill's instructions were 
to me in such cases: "Will, always get the 



Digitized by 



Google 



54 TRUE TALES OP THE PLAINS 

leader." This he did, as he fired straight at 
McCandles, the bullet catching him full in the 
heart, and he dropped instantly. By this time 
the desperadoes were close upon the cabin. Jump- 
ing aside, he emptied the revolvers through the 
cabin door. Four men fell dead, besides McCan- 
dles, at this stage of the game. Althou^ wound- 
ed with buckshot and bullet, and struck over the 
head with a rifle, that caused him to bleed at the 
mouth and nose, he still "stayed with 'em." At 
this time, as he told me himself, the cabin was 
filled with smoke, and anything he struck or hit 
was an enemy, and, in the gloom, probably they 
assisted him in their own destruction ; but with his 
faithful bowie knife he never faltered xmtil all 
was quiet, calm and still, for he had struck sav- 
age blows, following the devils up one side of 
the room and down the other and into comers, 
striking and yelling untU he felt sure that every 
one was down. 

All of a sudden it seemed as if his heart was 
on fire. Bleeding from everywhere, he felt 
around the walls to steady himself to the door 
and then rushed out to the well and drank from 
the bucket, that had been freshly drawn on his 
arrival, and fell into a momentary faint. When 
he came to, one of the wounded men had crawled 
to the well for the same purpose, and BiU assist- 



Digitized by 



Google 



•WILD BILL'* 55 

ed him to get a drink of water, wHen the man 
gasi)ed and fell dead. 

Hickok was womided by three bullets, eleven 
buckshot, and was cut in thirteen places. It 
was six months before *'Wild Bill" fully recov- 
ered from the results of what was one of the most 
thrilling exploits in border story — one that is not 
created by the romancer, but is well authenti- 
cated — ^that "Wild Bill" in single-handed con- 
flict killed ten men — ^men of the most desperate 
character. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER VIII 

MY FIRST MEETING WITH GENERAL WILLIAM 
TECUMSEH SHERMAN 




In the fall of 1865, Gen- 
eral Sherman and the Indian 
Commissioners, who were to 
make a treaty with the Ara- 
pahoes and Comanehes in 
southwestern Kansas, came 
to Fort Zarrah, on the Ar- 
kansas River. From there 
they were to go to what was 
known as Comicil Springs, a 
distance of sixty-five miles 
from Zarrah. Between Zarrah and the Springs 
is a flat level comitry, but no water is to be had. 
Consequently, there was no water carried, save 
for drinking purposes, which was carried in can- 
teens in the ambulances, for the Grcneral's orders 
were that he would leave Fort Zarrah at two a. 
m., so as to get a good start over this dry country. 
Our chief of scouts and guide at that time was 

66 



General Sherman. 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING SHERMAN 57 

Dick Curtis. The outfit was composed of three 
ambulances, with saddle-horses for the Greneral 
and the Indian Commissioners, and when the 
General and Commissioners were riding in the 
ambulances, their saddle-horses were led by or- 
derlies. The General had three or four staflp of- 
ficers, a company of cavalry as an escort, and 
about thirty scouts and messengers well mounted. 
These scouts' and messengers' duty was that 
whenever the General wished to send any quick 
despatches back to Fort Riley, at that time the 
nearest telegraph point, these men were to carry 
them. I was at the time a young scout employed 
for this purpose. 

It was about two o'clock in the afternoon, after 
leaving the fort, that a young officer, one of the 
General's aides, was riding along talking to me 
and asking me about when I thought we were 
going to get to Council Springs, where the In- 
dians were. I told him that if we kept on in the 
direction we were then going we would never get 
there. 

He asked, "Why so?" I replied that we were 
not going in the direction of the Springs — ^that 
we were bearing too far to the west. 

He said, "Why don't you tell the General this? 
He is up there in the ambulance." I told him 
(the oflBcer) that I was not guiding General 
Sherman, that Mr. Curtis was the guide, and that 



Digitized by 



Google 



58 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

I had no right to interfere with him whatever. 
Nor did I intend to do so. This young oflScer (I 
have forgotten his name) tmnbled to the situa- 
tion, and, galloping ahead, he rode alongside the 
ambulance and told the General what I had said, 
and explained to him my reasons for not mention- 
ing the situation. The General appreciated it at 
once and called a halt, climbed out of the ambu- 
lance, sent for Mr. Curtis to come back to him, 
and also for the scouts to come up, of which I was 
one. He laid out a large map on the ground, 
and, when we all got near him, he said to Mr. 
Curtis: 

"I wish you would show me on this map just 
where we are." 

Mr. Curtis told him, which was perfectly true, 
that the maps were all so incorrect that it was im- 
possible to go by them. 

The General remarked, "Well, then, Mr. Cur- 
tis, how far are we from the Springs? From the 
distance we have traveled since leaving Zarrah, 
at two o'clock this morning, we should be very 
near them." 

Mr. Curtis replied, "General, this is a very 
level country, as you can see. There are no land- 
marks, and there are so many thousands of buf- 
falo all over the prairie that it is pretty hard to 
tell just where we are and how far we are from 
the Springs. Furthermore, I have not been over 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING SHERMAN 59 

to the Springs for several years, and when I last 
went there I was with a large body of Indians, 
and was not acting as guide. Consequently, I 
feel that I am rather lost myself." 

The General, looking at the other scouts, said: 
"Do any of you know where the Springs are?" 
The yoimg officer had pointed me out to the Gen- 
eral, and he was looking straight at me when he 
asked this question. 

I said: "Yes, General, I know where the 
Springs are." 

"How far are we from them?" asked the Gen- 
eral. I told him about eighteen miles. 

He asked in what direction, and I answered, 
saying they were due south from us now, and we 
were headed dead west. Dick Curtis spoke up 
and said: "Billy, when were you ever out to the 
Springs?" 

I told him I had been there on two or three 
different occasions with Charlie Rath, the Indian 
trader, and had killed many buffalo all over this 
country. The General called for his horse, 
mounted it and said: "Young man, you come 
and show me the Springs. I will ride with you. 
Mr. Ciuiis, come along! No disrespect to you, 
sir. I appreciate how hard it is for one to find 
his way in a country where there are no land- 
marks, level as the sea, and covered with buffalo." 

I headed due south, the General riding by my 



Digitized by 



Google 



60 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

side, and during this ride the Greneral asked me 
many questions — ^how I came to know this coun- 
try so well, etc. I told him that my father had 
been killed in the border ruffian war of bleeding 
Kansas, and that since his death I had grown up 
on the plains, with the freighters, trappers, buf- 
falo hunters, Indian traders and others, and I 
was quite familiar with all the country lying be- 
tween the Missouri River and the Rocky Moun- 
tains. We rode on in this way until, approaching 
a little rise in the prairie, I said: "General, when 
you get to that small ridge up there, you will look 
down into a low depression of the prairie and see 
Council Springs and the Indians." The Springs 
rise in this vast plain, and they only run for 
about four or five miles, when it becomes a small 
stream of water sinking into the sand. When we 
gained this ridge, there before the General's eyes 
were hundreds and hundreds of horses and a 
large Indian village. 

I said: "There you are. General; there are 
your Indians, camped around the Springs." He 
patted me on the back in a fatherly way and said: 
"My boy, I am going to know you better." 

The General and the Peace Commissioners 
counciled here for three days, and in the evening 
of the third day an orderly came to me and told 
me the General wished me to report to him at 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING SHERMAN 61 

his tent. The Greneral kindly invited me in and 
said : "Billy, I want to go from here now to Fort 
Kearny on the Platte River, in Nebraska. How 
far is it?" I told him the way that he would have 
to go to have good camping-places, and that it 
would be about three hundred miles. He asked: 
"Can you guide me there?'' I told him I could, 
and he said: "All right. We will start to-mor- 
row for Fort Zarrah, and from there to Fort 
Riley, and from Fort Riley I want you to guide 
me to Fort Kearny.'' Which I did; and on ar- 
riving at Fort Kearny the General complimented 
me, and said: "From here I am going to Fort 
Leavenworth. I wish you to guide me there." 
I told him that would be easy, for there was a 
big wagon road from Kearny to Fort Leaven- 
worth. He said: "That is all right. It will 
make it easier for you. You have guided me 
safely for over three hundred miles where there 
were no wagon roads, and I am not afraid to 
trust myself with you on a big wagon road." 
On arriving at Leavenworth, I parted with the 
General, and he said General Sheridan was com- 
ing out to take command in a short time, and 
that he would tell him of me. This was the last 
time I saw the dear old General for several years. 
He was one of the loveliest men I have ever 
had the pleasure of knowing. 



Digitized by 



Google 



62 raUE TALES OP THE PLAINS 

From an Old Commander 

"Fifth Avenue Hotel^ 
"New Yoek, June 29, 1887. 
"Hon. Wm. F. Cody, London, England. 

"Dear Cody — In common with all your coun- 
trjonen, I want to let you know that I am not 
only gratified, but proud of your management 
and general behavior; so far as I can make out 
you have been modest, graceful, and dignified in 
all you have done to illustrate the history of 
civilization on this continent during the past 
century. 

"I am especially pleased with the graceful and 
pretty compliment paid you by the Princess of 
Wales, who rode in the Deadwood Coach while 
it was attacked by the Indians and rescued by 
the cowboys. Such things did occur in our days, 
and may never again. 

"As near as I can estimate, there were in 1865 
about nine and a half million of buffaloes on the 
plains between the Missouri River and the Rocky 
Mountains; all are now gone — ^killed for their 
meat, their skins and bones. 

"This seems like desecration, cruelty, and mur- 
der, yet they have been replaced by twice as many 
neat cattle. At that date there were about 165,- 
000 Pawnees, Sioux, Cheyennes, Kiowas and 
Arapahoies, who depended on these buffaloes foe 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING SHERMAN 68 

their yearly food. They, too, are gone, and have 
been replaced by twice or thrice as many white 
men and women, who have made the earth to 
blossom as the rose, and who can be counted, 
taxed and governed by the laws of nature and 
civilization. This change has been salutary, and 
will go on to the end. You have caught one 
epoch of the world^s history; have illustrated it 
in the very heart of the modem world — ^London 
^ — ^and I want you to feel that on this side the 
water we appreciate it. This drama must end; 
days, years and centuries follow fast; even the 
drama of civilization must have an end. 

"All I aim to accomplish on this sheet of paper 
is to assure you that I fully recognize your work, 
and that the presence of the Queen, the beautiful 
Princess of Wales, the Prince and British pub- 
lic, are marks of favor which reflect back on 
America sparks of light which illuminate many 
a house and cabin in the land where once you 
guided me honestly and faithfully, in 1865-6, 
from Fort Riley to Kearny, in Kansas and Ne- 
braska. Sincerely your friend, 

"W. T. Sheeman." 



Digitized by 



Google 




CHAPTER IX 

HUNTING BUFFALO TO FEED THE UNION PACIFIC 
RAILBOAD CONSTRUCTORS 

One of my favorite buflPalo- 
hunting horses was a small 
roan or large Indian pony 
which I got from a Ute In- 
dian. As this horse came 
from Utah I named him 
"Brigham," after the proph- 
•et. During the construction of the Kansas 
Pacific Railroad (now the Union Pacific), in 
1867, the construction of the end of the track got 
into the great buffalo country, and at that time 
the Indians — ^the Sioux, Cheyennes, Comanches, 
and Arapahoes — ^were all on the war-path. It 
was before the refrigerator car was in use and 
the contractors had no fresh meat to feed their 
employes. The men were grumbling consider- 
ably for fresh meat, for they could see fresh meat 
— that is, the buffalo, deer and antelope — ^in every 
direction, and they would growl because the con- 



Digitized by 



Google 



HUNTING BUFFALO 65 

tractors did not kill the buffaloes sothatthey could 
have fresh meat to eat. This was a little more 
difficult job than they thought^as the Indians 
were contesting every mile of railroad that was 
being built into their country. Besides having 
military escorts to guard the graders, every man 
from the boss down who went to work on 
the grading of the road carried a rifle with 
him as well as a pick and shovel, and when 
he was using them his gun lay on the ground 
near him, as the Indians would daily attack 
them. 

The construction of that road, in 1867, was 
nearly a continuous fight, and it was dangerous 
for a man to venture any distance away from the 
troops and the graders to hunt the buflPalo. They 
tried several hunters who claimed that they could 
kill buffalo and bring it into camp so that they 
could have fresh meat for their men. One or two 
of these men were killed by Indians while doing 
so, and the others gave up the job. 

At that time I was guide and scout at Fort 
Hays, Kansas, and had quite a reputation as a 
buffalo hunter. Some one told the main con- 
tractor that if he could get me I would be able 
to kill all the buffalo he would require. He came 
to Fort Hays to see me. Of course I could not 
accept — although he made me a very tempting 
financial offer — ^without permission of the Mill- 



Digitized by 



Google 



66 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

tary Department Commander, General Sheri- 
dan. 

The subject was even discussed at Headquar- 
ters in Washington, and, after considerable de- 
lay, evidence was presented that it would solve 
one of the main labor problems in the great work 
of constructing the great trans-continental rail- 
road and facilitate matters greatly. Leave of ab- 
sence for the piu^se was given me, with the un- 
derstanding that in case of an important out- 
break I should resume the duties of my position. 
As roving Lidians generally followed the herds 
of buffalo, I was really in a certain sense per- 
forming scouting duty also. 

I started in killing buffalo for the Union 
Pacific Railroad. I had a wagon with four mul^s, 
one driver and two butchers, all brave, well- 
armed men, myself riding my horse Brigham. 
We would leave the end of the construction work 
to go out after buffalo, and had an understanding 
witii the commanding officer who had charge of 
the troops guarding the construction, that should 
a smoke signal be seen in the direction in which 
I had gone, they would know I was in trouble 
and would send mounted men to my assistance. 

I had to keep a close and careful lookout for 
Indians before making my run into a herd of 
buffalo. It was my custom in those days to pick 
out a herd that seemed to have the fattest cows 



Digitized by 



Google 



HUNTING BUFFALO 6T 

and young heifers. I would then rusU my horse 
mto them, picking out the fattest ones and shoot- 
ing them down, while my horse would be run- 
ning alongside of them. I had a happy faculty 
in knowing how to shoot down the leaders and 
get the herd to run in a circle. I have killed from 
twenty-five to forty buffalo while the herd was 
circling, and they would all be dropped very dose 
together; that is to say, in a space covering about 
five acres. When I had the number I wanted, 
I would stop shooting and allow the balance of 
the herd to get away. The wagon would drive up 
and my men would instantly begin to secure the 
hams, the tenderloins, the tongues, and the choi- 
cest meat of each buffalo, including the heads, 
which were afterward mounted and used for an 
advertisement for the said road, loading the 
wagon until it was full. We would then drive 
back to our camp, or to the end of the track where 
the men were at work, and when the men would 
see me coming with a load of fresh meat they 
would say: "Ah, here comes Bill with a lot of 
nice buffalo I** For a while they were delighted 
with the fresh, tender meat, but after a time they 
tired of it, and, seeing me come, would say: 
"Here comes this old Bill with more buffalo!" 
and finally they connected the name buffalo and 
Bill together, and that is where the foundation 
was laid to the name of "Buffalo Bill,'' which aft« 



Digitized by 



Google 



68 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

erward I defended as a title with Comstock be- 
fore the officers at Fort Wallace with success. 

I killed buffalo for the railroad company for 
twelve months, and, during that time, the num- 
ber I brought into camp was kept account of, 
and at the end of that period I had killed 4,280 
buffalo on old Brigham. This was all accom- 
plished with one needle-gun or breech-loader, 
which I named "Lucretia Borgia/* 

During those twelve months I had many 
fights with the Indians. On several occasions 
they jumped myself and little party while sev- 
eral miles from the end of the grade. We would 
always prefer to have them jump us after our 
wagon was loaded with buffalo hams, for we had 
rehearsed our little stockade so often that it did 
not take more than a few minutes from the time 
we saw them coming until the mules were un- 
hitched from the wagon and tied to the wheels. 
We would make our breastworks around the 
wheels of the wagon by throwing out the meat, 
and would protect ourselves by getting behind 
the buffalo hams. In this manner we held off 
from forty to sixty Indians on one or two occa- 
sions until we received assistance. I would make 
my smoke signals at once, which the soldiers 
would instantly see and rush to our rescue. I 
had five men killed during my connection with the 
U. P. R. R., three drivers and the others butchers. 



Digitized by 



Google 




CHAPTER X 

A EACE FOE LIFE 

One day in the spring 
of 1868, I mounted 
Brigham and started 
for Smoky HillRiver. 
After galloping about 
twenty miles I reached 
the top of a small hiU 
cDitws SANCTUM. CODY CITY. BIO Ho»» overlookiug the val- 

£ASItU WYOMING* aii •«■■ 

ley of that beautiful 
st|*eam. As I was gazing down on the land- 
scape, I suddenly saw a band of about thirty 
Indians nearly half a mile distant. I knew by 
the way they jumped on their horses that they 
had seen me as soon as I came into sight. 

The only "chance I had for my life was to make 
a run for it, and I immediately wheeled and 
started back toward the railroad. Brigham 
seemed to understand what was up, and he struck 
out as if he comprehended that it was to be a 

69 



Digitized by 



Google 



70 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

run for life. He crossed a ravine in a few 
jumps, and on reaching a bridge beyond, I drew 
rein, looked back and saw the Indians coming for 
me at full speed and evidently well mounted. I 
would have had little or no fear of beitig over- 
taken if Brigham had been fresh; but as he was 
not, I felt uncertain as to how he would stand a 
long chase. 

My pursuers seemed to be gaining on me a 
little, and I let Brigham shoot ahead again. 
When we had run about three miles farther, 
some eight or nine of the Indians were not over 
two hundred yards behind, and five or six of 
these seemed to be shortening the gap at every 
jump. Brigham now exerted himself more than 
ever, and for the next three or four miles he got 
"right down to business,'* and did some of the 
prettiest running I ever saw. But the Indians 
were about as well mounted as I was, and one of 
their horses in particular — a spotted animal— » 
was gaining on me all the time. Nearly all the 
omer horses were strung out behind for a dis- 
tance of two miles, but still chasing after me. 

The Indian who was riding the spotted horse 
was armed with a rifle, and would occasionally 
send a bullet whistling along, sometimes striking 
the ground ahead of me. I saw that this fellow 
must be checked, or a stray bullet from his gun 
might hit me or my horse; so, suddenly stopping 



Digitized by 



Google 



A RACE FOR LIFE 71 

Brigham, and quickly wheeling him around, I 
raised old "Lucretia" to my shoulder, took de- 
liberate aim at the Indian and his horse, hoping 
to hit one or the other, and fired. He was not 
over eighty yards from me at this time, and at 
the crack of my rifle down went his horse. Not 
waiting to see if he recovered, I turned Brigham, 
and in a moment we were again fairly flying to- 
ward our destination; we had urgent business 
about that time, and were in a hurry to get there. 

The other Indians had gained on us while I 
was engaged in shooting at their leader, and they 
sent several shots whizzing past me, but fortu- 
nately none of them hit the intended mark. To 
return their compliment I occasionally wheeled 
myself in the saddle and fired back at them, and 
one of my shots broke the leg of one of their 
horses, which left its rider hors(e) de combat, as 
the French would say. 

Only seven or eight Indians now remained in 
dangerous proximity to me, and as their horses 
were beginning to lag somewhat, I checked my 
faithful old steed a little, to allow him an oppor- 
tunity to draw an extra breath or two. I had 
determined, if it should come to the worst, to 
drop into a buffalo wallow, where I could stand 
the Indians off for a while; but I was not com- 
pelled to do this, as Brigham carried me through 
most nobly. 



Digitized by 



Google 



72 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

The chase was kept up untU we came within 
three miles of the end of the railroad track, where 
two companies of soldiers were stationed for the 
purpose of protecting the workmen from the In- 
dians. One of the outposts saw the Indians chas* 
ing me across the prairie, and gave the alarm. 
In a few minutes I saw, greatly to my delight, 
men coming on foot, and cavalrymen, too, gal- 
loping to our rescue as soon as they could mount 
their horses. When the Indians saw this, they 
turned and ran in the direction from which they 
had come. In a very few minutes I was met by 
some of the infantrymen and trackmen, and 
jumping to the ground and pulling the blanket 
and saddle off Brigham, I told them what he 
had done for me ; they at once took him in charge, 
led him around, and rubbed him down so vigor- 
ously that I thought they would rub him to 
death. 

Captain Nolan, of the Tenth Cavalry, now 
came up with forty of his men, and upon learn- 
ing what had happened he determined to pursue 
the Indians. He kindly offered me one of his 
cavalry horses, and after putting my own saddle 
and bridle on the animal, we started out after 
the flying Indians, who only a few minutes before 
had been making it so uncomfortably lively for 
me. Our horses were all fresh and of excellent 
stock, and we soon began shortening the distance 



Digitized by 



Google 



A RACE FOR LIFE 78 

between ourselves and the redskins. Before they 
had gone five miles we overtook and killed eight 
of tiieir number. The others succeeded in 
making their escape. On coming up to the place 
where I had killed the first horse — the spotted 
one — on my "home run," I found that my bul- 
let had struck him in the forehead and killed him 
instantly. He was a noble animal, and ought 
to have been engaged in better business. 

When we got back to camp I found old Brig- 
ham grazing quietly and contentedly on the 
grass. He looked up at me as if to ask if we 
had got away with any of those fellows who had 
chased us. I believe he read the answer in my 
eyes. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XI 




HOW I GOT THE TITLE OF "BUFFALO BHX" 



Shoetly after the adven- 
tures mentioned in the pre- 
ceding chapter, I had my 
celebrated hmit with Billy 
Comstock, a noted scout, 

Shooting Buflaio on the 8^^^ ^^ interpreter, who 
Plains. ^as ^hcu chicf of scouts at 

Fort Wallace, Kansas. Com- 
stock had had the reputation, for a long time, of 
being a most successful buffalo hunter, and the 
officers, in particular, who had seen him kill buffa- 
loes, were very desirous of backing him in a match 
against me. It was accordingly arranged that I 
should shoot him a buffalo-killing match, and the 
preliminaries were easily and satisfactorily agreed 
upon. We were to hunt one day of eight hours, 
beginning at eight o'clock in the morning, and 
closing at four o'clock in the afternoon. The 
wager was five hundred dollars a side^ and the 

74 



Digitized by 



Google 



TITLE OF "BUFFALO BILL*^ 75 

man who should kill the greater number of buf- 
faloes from horseback was to be declared the 
winner. 

' The hunt took place about twenty miles east 
of Sheridan, and as it had been pretty well ad- 
vertised and noised abroad, a large crowd wit- 
nessed the interesting and exciting scene. An 
excursion party, mostly from St. Louis, consist- 
ing of about a hundred gentlemen and ladies, 
came out on a special train to view the sport, and 
among the number was my wife, with little Baby 
Arta, who had come to remain with me for a 
while. 

The buffaloes were quite plenty, and it was 
agreed that we should go into the same herd at 
the same time and "make a run," as we called 
it, each one killing as many as possible. A 
referee was to follow each of us on horseback 
when we entered the herd, and count the buf- 
faloes killed by each man. The St. Louis ex- 
cursionists, as well as other spectators, rode out 
to the vicinity of the hunting grounds in wagons 
and on horseback, keeping well out of sight of 
the buffaloes, so as not to frighten them, until 
the time came for us to dash into the herd; when 
they were to come up as near as the^ pleased to 
witness the chase. 

We were fortunate in the first run in getting 
good ground. Comstock was mounted on one 



Digitized by 



Google 



76 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

of his favorite horses, while I rode old Brigham. 
I felt confident that I had the advantage of 
Comstock in two things — ^first, I had the best 
buffalo horse that ever made a track; the second, 
I was using what was known at that time as the 
needle-gun, a breechloading Springfield rifle, 
caliber .50 — ^it was my favorite old "Lucretia," 
which has already been introduced to the notice 
of the reader— while Comstock was armed with 
a Henry rifle, and although he could fire a few 
shots quicker than I could, yet I was pretty cer- 
tain that it did not carry powder and lead enough 
to do execution equal to my caliber .50. 

At last the time came to begin the match. 
Comstock and I dashed into a herd, followed by 
the referees. The buffaloes separated; Comstock 
took the left bunch and I the right. My great 
forte in killing buffaloes from horseback was to 
get them circling by riding my horse at the head 
of the herd, shooting the leaders, thus crowding 
their followers to the left, till they would finally^ 
circle round and round. 

On this morning the buffaloes were very ac- 
commodating, and I soon had them running in a 
beautiful circle, when I dropped them thick and 
fast, until I had killed thirty-eight, which fin- 
ished my run. 

Comstock began shooting at the rear of the 
herd, which he was chasing, and the;;; kept 



Digitized by 



Google 



.TITLE OF "BUFFALO BILL" 77 

straight on. He succeeded, however, in killing 
twenty-three, but they were scattered over a dis- 
tance of three miles, while mine lay close to- 
gether. I had nursed my buflfaloes, as a billiard- 
player does the balls when he makes a big run. 

After the result of the first run had been duly 
announced, our St. Louis excursion friends — ^who 
had approached to the place where we had 
stopped — set out a lot of champagne, which they 
had brought with them, and which proved a good 
drink on a Kansas prairie, and a buflfalo hunter 
was a good man to get away with it. 

While taking a short rest, we suddenly spied 
another herd of buffaloes coming toward us. It 
was only a small drove, and we at once prepared 
to give the animals a lively reception. They 
proved to be a herd of cows and calves — ^which, 
by the way, are quicker in their movements than 
the bulls. We charged in among them, and I 
concluded my run with a score of eighteen, while 
Comstock killed fourteen. The score was now 
fifty-six to thirty-seven in my favor. 

Again the excursion party approached, and 
once more the champagne was tapped. After we 
had eaten a lunch which was spread for us, we 
resumed the hunt. Striking out for a distance 
of three miles, we came up close to another herd. 
As I was so far ahead of my competitor in the 
niunber killed, I thought I could afford to give 



Digitized by 



Google 



78 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

an extra exhibition of my skill. I had told the 
ladies that I would, on the next run, ride my 
horse without any saddle or bridle. This had 
raised the excitement to fever heat among the 
excursionists, and I remember one fair lady who 
endeavored to prevail upon me not to do it. 

"That's nothing at all," said I; "I have done it 
many a time, and old Brigham knows as well as 
I what I am doing, and sometimes a great deal 
better." 

So leaving my saddle and bridle with the 
wagons, we rode to the windward of the buf- 
faloes, as usual, and when within a few hundred 
yards of them we dashed into the herd. I soon 
had thirteen laid out on the ground, the last one 
of which I had driven down close to the wagons, 
where the ladies were. It frightened some of the 
tender creatures to see the buflfalo coming at full 
speed directly toward them; but when he had got 
within fifty yards of one of the wagons, I had 
shot him dead in his tracks. This made my 
sixty-ninth buffalo, and finished my third and 
last run, Comstock having killed forty-six. 

As it was now late in the afternoon, Comstock 
and his backers gave up the idea that he could 
beat me, and thereupon the referees declared me 
the winner of the match, as well as the champion 
buffalo-hunter of the plains. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XII 



THE PBAIEIE — ITS ATTEACTIONS AND DB£ADS 




I HAVE been many times 
asked if the solitude of the 
plains was not burdensome 
and oppressive to a man who 
was traveling along some of 
the vast expanses of the 
West, where for hundreds of 
miles there was no one to see 
but himself, his horses, a 
boundless level of prairie 
grass, the blue sky above, with its sun by day and 
its stars by night. At first the question seemed 
strange, but I soon imderstood how a man who 
has lived all his life in daily touch with Broadway 
might go melancholy mad in a single day in a 
legion where he could see and hear absolutely 
nothing but the wonderful panorama of nature 
and its voices. There was a multitude of things 
around him to arouse interest, which, to the 
plainsman, meant safety or danger, life or death; 

79 



Digitized by 



Google 



80 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

but which would mean to such a man, indeed, no 
more than so many blades of grass. This silent 
excitement of the solitary ride over the broad 
prairie, where the city man would see nothing 
but dull monotony, was something more exciting- 
ly fierce than anything I had seen in a town, and 
I had seen Wall Street crazed. I have watched 
street riots, I have witnessed royal pageants, and 
I have seen men lynched. These things stir the 
blood; but they all seem pale to what I have 
felt when out alone on a scout. With the knowl- 
edge that real danger was concealed, hidden from 
one's view, but liable at any moment not only 
to be seen and heard, but felt — ^feeling that old 
Jim Bridger expressed it truly that "Whar you 
don't see anythin', hear nothin', an' thar are no 
Injuns to be seen, that ginerally is whar they are 
thickest." Consequently, the scout on duty was 
compelled to invent ruses of his own to assist him 
m emergency. And when some extremely dan- 
gerous mission had to be undertaken, the scouts 
often puzzled the commander by refusing aid in 
the shape of a squad or any chosen number of 
soldiers to accompany him. But actually it was 
the part of discretion to do so, as going alone, 
or with one or two chosen comrades whom you 
knew to be true blue, was a precaution that fa- 
vored your own safety; as all scouts natiu*ally 
picked the very best mounts and rode one, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE PRAIRIE 81 

had what is called a "lead horse" well trained to 
follow and stand by you in every emergency. He 
had only himself to look out for, and with a good 
lead horse in a race for life had a fresh remount. 
Besides, his trail would not so easily be discov- 
ered, and, unless it was "hot," it did not induce 
any prowling bands to follow from avaricious 
motives that a larger party would, that would 
give some hope to the red man of plunder and 
horse- wealth, the acquisition of which was the In- 
dian's standard of prosperity, as is prize money 
to the sailor, and scalps were his highest aim to- 
ward achieving a soldier's glory. Therefore, I 
always kept myself well provided with well 
trained steeds, who became wonderfully profi- 
cient in scenting danger and even game. The 
fact that your horses were unshod was another 
puzzle to a trailing Indian, as a shod-horse print 
gave him a clew to a white man's presence or the 
proximity of the military. One of my ruses was 
to take with me a bugler of the Fifth Cavalry, 
named Kershaw, who developed a capacity for 
comradeship in such adventures. Kershaw, after 
retiring from the army, became Chief of Police 
at Chester, Pa., near Philadelphia, and died there 
several years ago. Generally I preferred, like 
others, going alone, as then I had only myself to 
look out for; for a wounded comrade, or one that 
met with any mishap, necessitated self-sacrifice 



Digitized by 



Google 



82 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

in emergency, as it was naturally understood that 
you would have to stand by him. I took Kershaw 
with me often, as I knew the country was in- 
fested with large bands of Indians, when it was 
too dangerous to travel in daytime and your 
object could be best accomplished in the night. 
His value as "a striker" can be best explained 
by the following incident: On one occasion we 
slept during the day in a well wooded box cafion, 
near a little stream of water, with plenty of grass 
for the horses to browse on, and at the same time 
we were hidden from view. Toward evening when 
we thought it convenient to continue our scout, 
just as we were about to emerge from our hiding 
place, a large band of Indians assembled down 
the caiion to camp for the night. Mounted as 
they were, it was useless for us to attempt flight, 
so, moving further backward in the woods, we 
remained concealed until they had settled down. 
There was no way to get out except a dash 
through the Indian village. We dared not stay 
till daylight, as they might find our trail, and 
they would have us corraled, so we quietly waited 
until they had settled down, when we mounted 
and sneaked toward the edge of the village, where 
there was an avenue of escape. Their faithful 
dogs of course alarmed the camp, so the best we 
could do was to make a dash out, wheel and fire 
as quick as we could, and Kershaw with his faiths 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE PRAIRIE 88 

ful bugle blew the charge. Ridmg quickly 
around the village, we made aaother little firing 
at them and sounded the bugle charge again. A 
repetition of this at another point and a bugle 
charge threw them into confusion, stampeded 
their ponies, prevented their quick mounting, and 
while they went in one direction bold Kershaw 
and myself were riding like the devil in another. 
Naturally, of course, this gave the Indians some- 
thing to think of in the night while we got to the 
post and informed Colonel Royal of the location, 
and with Major Brown, Captain Bache, Lieu- 
tenant Jack Hayes and a detachment of cavalry, 
went on the trail, which was followed for two 
days, and the Indians were severely pimished, 
with but few casualties on our side. 

Kershaw was a good hunter, and was with 
me on one occasion on a buffalo hunt, where, 
in a run after buffalo for camp, my gun, 
old "Lucretia,** performed the feat of killing, 
by one shot, three buffaloes that ran obliquely 
close together. On another occasion, when 
getting fresh meat for Fort Sheridan, we 
were greatly annoyed at times on our buffalo 
hunt by being jumped by the Indians, who, in 
those days, were generally out with the same 
object. Many a hot skirmish, or many a run 
for it, was necessary. Buffalo naturally were 
some distance from the fort, and I thought 



Digitized by 



Google 



84 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

of a trick by which I could give my red brothers a 
surprise. In a run for it, a few miles from the 
fort, was a hog-back that furnished a good de- 
fensive position, and I had often noticed that it 
had a long, deep, bushy ravine. It was in the 
nature almost of a natiu-al fortification, so I 
thought how I could get them to repeat their 
many attacks on me when I ran to this particular 
point, from which I could signal for help to the 
fort with hasty grass fires and "smoke that 
talked." Buffalo were at the time plentiful, so 
I secured Kershaw and about fifteen good marks- 
men, with provisions for the trip, and started out 
before daylight for the hunt. Hiding the sol- 
diers in this ravine, we proceeded on our journey 
and had not the wagons half -filled before my 
striker. Bill White, announced Indians in the 
distance, "and a big band, too," said Bill. Away 
we went for the hog-back, and it was lickety- 
split, with the Indians gaining on us every min- 
ute. We reached it, threw our wagons into posi- 
tion, packed our buffalo hams out for breast- 
works, threw some straw about and gathered up 
some dead grass to make a signal. The Indians, 
seeing it, knew that relief would come and they 
hadn't a moment to lose if they wanted our scalps. 
On they came, dashing around. Myself and 
teamsters and five or six of us banging away 
at them, they circled around and drew off, as 



Digitized by 



Google 




SIOUX CHIEF, IRON TAIL, NOW WITH BUFFALO BILL S WILD WEST. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE PRAIRIE 85 

they commonly did, and at a distance of about 
seventy-five yards from the ambush. As usual, 
they bunched together, listening to the wrangle 
of the chief. Bang! bang! bang! and the old 
Winchesters began to talk from the ravine, while 
Kershaw, with his bugle, blew the charge, the 
Indians tumbling here, there and everjrwhere out 
of their saddles, the rest scattering with the speed 
of jack-rabbits in all directions. Assembling on 
the distant hills, they realized that the jig was 
up, particularly when they saw the cavalry com- 
ing in the distance. Somehow or other, dining 
the remainder of the season, they never seemed 
to molest the butcher-wagon with the same appe- 
tite. And the fort always had fresh meat. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XIII 



MY FIRST MEETING WITH GENERAL SHERIDAN 




General Sheridan. 



It is apropos here to describe 
my first meeting with Gen- 
eral Pha Sheridan. That 
carries me back to what I 
can emphatically describe as 
a most stormy time — ^the 
time, the place and the de- 
volving duties give me food 
for thought. 

First, what a little thing 
man is ! Nature, how grand- 
ly forceful she is when aroused to fury I 

This law of creation that is gradually harness- 
ing some of nature's powers, that bridges tor- 
rential streams, sending the iron horse over limit- 
less travels for commerce, and conquering many 
of the mysteries of air, earth and sea, and which 
seemingly brings all things under subjugation 
to man's will — ^it is nothing when brought face to 
face with angry nature. Weak and trembling in 

86 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING SHERIDAN 87 

the path of the cyclone, tornado, waterspout and 
volcanic eruption, flood, earthquake and that 
terror of the plains, the blizzard, his limbs quake, 
his heart quails, and, if not in a virile condition, 
his blood congeals, and his mind in prayer ap- 
peals to a higher power for miraculous interven- 
tion. If that does not come, then every trained 
faculty, with nerve to apply them to overcoming 
the conditions and gaining safety, is necessary, 
or else the jig is up. 

I have had many experiences with genuine bliz- 
zards — a combination of snow-storm, cyclone and 
tornado — ^that sweeps from the Arctics down the 
American plains, even to the Rio Grande, in 
which neighborhood it receives the appropriate 
cognomen, the Norther. The blizzard has been 
libeled in the East, though there has been ix 
my generation but one in the neighborhood of 
New York, which was in 1888, one that tied up 
the country, caused numerous deaths, notably 
that of the Hon. Roscoe Conkling« A blizzard 
occurs at a time of winter when several previous 
snow-storms have left the earth covered with deep 
snow, when the new storm, driven with cyclonic 
force, is not only in the air, but the deeply bedded 
covering is agitated into mingling with cutting 
force, thus making the heavens and the earth both 
contribute to the conditions that inspire such con- 
fusion and terror. The force of the wind, blow« 



Digitized by 



Google 



88 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

ing at the rate of from fifty to eighty miles an 
hour, breaks up the snowflakes into an almost 
infinitesimal fineness, and this is driven through 
space at incredible speed, looking almost like a 
solid mass. So thick does it become, that no ob- 
ject can be seen half a dozen feet away, and, at 
the same time, the noise made by the rushing 
winds prevents the voice of the strongest-lunged 
being heard beyond half a score of steps. 
This fine snow blown in the face succeeds in 
a very few moments in blinding the one caught 
in it, and he is only able to struggle forward, 
impotent to aid. himself, except by locomotion, 
until either guided by instinct or accident he 
stumbles into safety, or goes down in utter physi- 
cal exhaustion to despair, sleep and, perhaps, 
eternal oblivion. 

These storms "sneak up" on the world as 
though they were some sort of Nemesis, follow- 
ing only to destroy. The morning before a bliz- 
zard is generally of the bright kind that inspires 
one to get about and be doing something. Farm- 
ers start for the to^vns to do their trading, ranch- 
men and shepherds ride out long distances to visit 
their corrals or sheepfolds. Later in the day, 
light clouds gather and obscure the sun, while a 
gentle fall of snow warrants no fear for the mo- 
ment. But gradually the clouds grow blacker, 
the storm increases rapidly, and before shelter 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING SHERIDAN 80 

can be reached the blizzard is on with all its fierce- 
ness and destructiveness to life and property. 
The temperature grows colder, and 20 to 60 de- 
grees below zero is often recorded. 

The minor-blowing snow-storms, regularly al- 
luded to as "blizzards," are misnamed, for a bliz- 
zard is generally confined to the open plains, and 
the East is pretty well protected by the Alle- 
ghany and Cumberland range of mountains. Sin- 
gular to relate, the word "blizzard," though fa- 
miliarized as an application to these peculiar 
storms in the West, must have been brought there 
by some ancient mariner or ex-man-of-war's-man, 
who recognized its descriptive availability when 
the old sea-dog struck this Arctic cyclone. The 
word "blizzard" was originally used as a sail- 
or*s substitute for broadside, to define the differ- 
ence from a simultaneous broadside fire, to desig- 
nate a continuous rain or hail in firing from the 
ship. It was about the year 1806 when it was 
first used as a descriptive term to apply to the 
fierce storms of our West and Northwest. No 
other country or other place seems to be able to 
get up such a conflict in nature as to cause her 
to show her power in this chilling manner. About 
the best method of describing one of these at- 
mospherical distiu*bances is to say that it is a 
snow-storm exaggerated some ten-thousand-fold. 

It was in one of these blizzards that the meet- 



Digitized by 



Google 



90 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

ing between General Phil Sheridan and myself 
occurred, and you will permit me, having such a 
good substitute, to allow that great cavalry leader 
himself to tell the story in an extract from his 
"Autobiography." This was written so many 
years ago that it is naturally confined now to 
select libraries. Our great cavalry leader is famed 
in the military annals of the world as having, 
during the Civil War, organized and instituted 
an annex to the cavalry arm, in the shape of 
mounted infantrj^ so that riflemen could be 
quickly hurried from point to point, dismount, 
and fight as infantry. It will probably also be 
a matter of news to many that after the Civil 
War he instituted an entirely new method of 
Indian warfare, and I am proud to say that he 
chose me among the many at its inception and 
throughout its effective execution. During the 
war that the whites were engaged in, in their 
colossal contest, the Indian simply ran riot over 
the plains, and in olden days the white's and In- 
dian's game was to avoid each other, except when 
cunning and strategy permitted either to have a 
"dead-sure" thing. But in winter both white and 
red paid a wholesome respect to nature and cli- 
matic conditions by going into camp and having 
an unwritten observance of what might be called 
an armistice, or, like the bear, they hibernated. 
General Sheridan found himself for the first 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING SHERIDAN 91 

time with veteran cavalrymen,^ and in a condi- 
tion for the first time in history to seek for, fol- 
low, trail, hunt, fight and punish the insolent foe 
at a season of the year when his commissary 
stores, both for men and horses, were as limited 
as they were as easily available in spring and 
summer. His inauguration of this plan at the 
finish of the war marks an epoch in frontier fight- 
ing which was more sanguinary, more dangerous, 
than in former days, as the Indians at this time 
became well supplied, through French-Canadian 
and other traders, who had an ample supply of 
firearms and ammunition, meeting the army as 
regards equipment at least equally, and in 
topography superior. 

The following is the extract from General 
Sheridan's work to which I allude: 

"In those days (about 1868), the railroad 
town of Hays City was filled with so-called *In- 
dian scouts,' whose common boast was of having 
slain scores of redskins, but the real scout — that 
is, a guide and trailer knowing the habits of the 
Indians — ^was very scarce, and it was hard to 
find anybody familiar with the country south of 
the Arkansas, where the campaign was to be 
made. Still about Hays City and the various 
military posts there was some good material to 
select from, and we managed to employ several 
meui whoi from their experience on the plains 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



92 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

in various capacities, or from natural instinct 
and aptitude, soon became excellent guides and 
courageous and valuable scouts, some of them, 
indeed, gaining much distinction. Mr. William 
F. Cody (^Buffalo Bill') , whose renown has since 
become world-wide, was one of the men thus se- 
lected. He received his sobriquet from his 
marked success in killing buffaloes for a con- 
tractor, to supply fresh meat to the construction 
parties on the Kansas Pacific Railroad. He had 
given up this business, however, and was now in 
the employ of the quartermaster's department of 
the armv, and was first brought to my notice by 
distinguishing himself in bringing me an impor- 
tant despatch from Fort Lamed to Fort Hays, 
a distance of sixty-five miles, through a section 
infested with Indians. The despatch informed 
me that the Indians near Lamed were preparing 
to decamp, and this intelligence required that 
certain orders should be carried to Fort Dodge, 
ninety-five miles south of Hays. This too being 
a particularly dangerous route — several couriers 
having been killed on it — ^it was impossible to 
get one of the various Tetes,' * Jacks,' or * Jims* 
hanging around Hays City to take my communi- 
cation. Cody, learning of the strait I was in, 
manfully came to the rescue, and proposed to 
make the trip to Dodge, though he had just fin- 
ished his long and perilous ride from Lamed. 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING SHERIDAN 98 

I gratefully accepted his offer, and after four or 
five hours' rest he mounted a fresh horse and 
hastened on his journey, halting but once to rest 
on the way, and then only for an hour, the stop 
being made at Coon Creek, where he got another 
mount from a troop of cavalry. At Dodge he 
took six hours* sleep, and then continued on to 
his own post — Fort Lamed — ^with more des- 
patches. After resting twelve hours at Lamed, 
he was again in the saddle with tidings for me 
at Fort Hays, General Hazen sending him this 
time, with word that the villages had fled to the 
south of the Arkansas. Thus, in all, Cody rode 
about 850 miles in less than sixty hours, and such 
an exhibition of endurance and courage was more 
than enough to convince me that his service 
would be extremely valuable in the campaign, so 
I retained him at Fort Hays till the battalion of 
the Fifth Cavalry arrived, and then made him 
chief of scouts for that regiment. 

"The information brought me by Cody on 
his second trip from Lamed indicated where the 
villages would be found in the winter, and I de- 
cided to move on them about the first of Novem- 
ber. Only the women and children and the de- 
crepit old men were with the villages, however — 
enough, presumably, to look after the plimder — 
most of the warriors remaining north of the 
Arkansas to continue iheir marauding.'* 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XIV 



MY FIRST MEETING WITH GENERAL CUSTEB 




General Custer. 



My first meeting with Gen- 
eral Greorge A. Custer was 
when I was a scout in the De- 
partment of the Missouri, in 
the spring of 1867. At this 
time, Greneral Custer^s regi- 
ment, the Seventh Cavalry, 
(United States Army, was at 
Fort Lamed, on Pawnee 
Fork, near the Arkansas 
River. 

One evening the General arrived at Fort 
Hays from Fort Harker. He had with him 
only two ofiicers and three orderlies. The Gen- 
eral told Captain Ovenshine, who was in com- 
. mand of Fort Hays at the time, that he wished 
to leave Fort Hays the next morning at day- 
light to join his regiment, and wanted a guide 
who knew the country, one that would make no 
mistake, well mounted, to guide him to Fort 
Lamed. 

M 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING CUSTER 95 

Captain Ovenshine sent for me and told me 
to be ready sharp at daylight to go with General 
Custer, and that he wanted me to have the best 
moimt there was at the psist. At that time the 
horses at the fort were pretty well run down 
from many chases after Indians, but I was riding 
and had at the time as good a long-distance horse 
as I have ever known, and he was a mule. Know- 
ing General Custer by reputation, that he was 
a fast traveler and allowed no grass to grow 
under his feet, and knowing that the General and 
his party were well mounted (the General him-* 
self was riding a Kentucky thoroughbred), I 
looked after my mule that night pretty care- 
fully and whispered to him that there would be 
something doing the next day. 

At daylight I rode up to the commandmg ofl3- 
cer's quarters and Captain Ovenshme introduced 
me, for the first time, to General Custer. The 
General, seeing that I was mounted on a mule, 
turned to Captain Ovenshine and said: 

"Captain, I haven't got time to dilly-dally 
along the road with a mule. I see that my guide 
here is mounted on a mule. I want him to have 
a horse, and a good one." 

I said: "General, this is the best horse at the 
fort, and I assure you that he won't be much 
behind you when you reach Fort Lamed." 

.The Captain explained to the General that the 



Digitized by 



Google 



96 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

horses were in pretty bad condition at the fort, 
and that he had heard me brag so much about 
that mule that he felt quite sure that the beast 
was all right. 

The General seemed a little displeased and 
said: "Well, if that is the best you have, I will 
have to put up with it/* 

We mounted and started out on the road. For 
the first fifteen miles, to Smoky Hill River, there 
was a good wagon road, and as we rode along the 
General asked me numerous questions in regard 
to the country and the Indians, and thus we 
talked along mile after mile. But the General 
was going at a pretty rapid gait and my mule 
was not very speedy on the start, but I knew 
he would finish all right. So when the General 
was not looking I would put the spurs to the 
mule a little to wake him up. However, I kept 
alongside of the General until I got to Smoky 
Hill River. I noticed that the old mule was not 
panting much, but the horses were. 

I told the General that this would be the last 
water for forty-five miles, until we got near 
Lamed; that it would be best to water the horses 
there, and if the men required any water they 
had better fill up their canteens, which they did. 

From this point we struck into the sand-hills, 
leaving all roads. It was pretty sandy and pretty 
heavy traveling for horse or mule, but I made 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING CUSTER 97 

up my mind that I would show the General, from 
there on, that I had spoken the truth about the 
mule. So, when the General was not looking at 
me, I would put the spurs to him, and, as he 
would lunge idhead, I would say: 

"V^Tioa, there! Take it easy, old fellow. Don't 
get to frettin*." 

We went on like that for a mile or so. The 
mule would get ahead of the horses, and when- 
ever the General wasn't looking I would spiu* 
him, and, as the mule would f orgie ahead, I would 
pat him to calm him down. 

Finally the General remarked : "That is really 
quite a horse you are riding there.** 

"Oh, he isn't warmed up yet. General,*' I said. 
"He doesn't go good until he gets his second 
wind.** 

The escort was stringing out quite a little be- 
hind, though we were leading a pretty fast pace, 
and kept this up for quite a number of miles, 
when the General observed: 

"Well, we will have to wait until my escort 
catches up.** 

And while we waited I would be patting the 
mule on the back and holding him by the bit to 
keep him from running away. When the escort 
caught up and stopped to blow their horses a 
little, away we went again, because the General 
did not want to acknowledge that his thorough- 



Digitized by 



Google 



98 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

bred could be beaten by any mule. And everyj 
few miles we would have to stop and wait for 
the escort to catch up. 

By this time the mule was really beginning to 
show his staying qualities over the Kentucky 
horse that the General was riding, and the Gren- 
eral could not keep up. But the Grcneral would 
not give up, and we went on mile after mile 
through the sand-hills, until, finally, I had actu- 
ally to wait on the General a little. Every once 
in a while the General would remark about that 
mule. But we went on, and the General still 
would not give in. We continued going until 
we got within about fifteen miles of Fort Lar- 
ned. Here we stopped on a hill to wait for 
the ofiicers and orderlies to overtake us. When 
they got up, I showed the General a depression 
in the sand-hills and told him that that was the 
Pawnee Fork Creek, and that all we had to do 
was to follow the creek down and we would come 
to the fort. 

"Now, General," I said, "if you have any urg- 
ent dispatches that you want taken to your com- 
manding ofiicer, if you will give them to me I 
will take them on and have them delivered to him. 
You cannot help but find yoiu* way.'* 

"Ah," he said, "you are kidding me about what 
I said in regard to that mule. Well," turning 
to one of the oflScers, "you bring the escort in* 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING CUSTER 99 

Follow the direction we are going, and I will go 
on with Cody." 

And we started, I giving him as lively a ride 
as his horse could stand until we reached the 
fort. That night the GreneraFs horse died. The 
next morning, at guard mount, I rode up to the 
headquarters of Fort Lamed, which was com- 
manded by Captain Daingerfield Parker, with 
whom the General was stopping, and reported to 
him. I said that if he had no further use for 
me, I would return to my own fort, and that if 
he had any dispatches he wanted taken back to 
Fort Hays I would take them, as I expected 
to get there in eight hours on the same mule. 

He laughed and said: "Well, I will never say 
anything against a mule again." 

Nor did the General ever forget that mule, 
and, whenever I met him in after years, he always 
inquired about the mule. 

General Custer was an enthusiastic hunter. 
During the summer of 1867 I had the pleasure 
of accompanying him on several buffalo hunts, 
and we also himted deer, antelope, and turkey 
together. 

The General was full of life and was a splen- 
did entertainer in camp, besides being quite a 
practical joker. He liked to play practical jokes, 
and delighted in taking certain tenderf eet out for 
a night's snipe-hunting. 



Digitized by 



Google 



100 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

The way this hunt is pulled oflF, some one dur- 
ing the evening would remark: 

"Well, I saw a big drove of snipe over behind 
the little bench, and I think we had better go 
and get them to-night, and have a nice big snipe 
breakfast. Nice and young, good and juicy; 
and this is the best time to get them." 

Some tenderfoot who was among the party 
would be anxious to go and would inquire how 
they catch them at night. Then some one would 
tell him that the way we caught them was to 
take a large gunny-sack or oat-sack, and one 
man would go up to the head of the ravine, where 
the ravine was very narrow, and sit behind the 
sack, holding the mouth of the sack open. The 
rest of the party were to surround the snipe in 
the ravine and quietly drive the bunch up the dry 
bed of the ravine until they got near the head, 
where the man was holding the sack, and the 
snipe, of course, would naturally run into the 
sack. The man would then only have to close the 
mouth of the sack, and he would have a sackful 
of snipe. 

This being the easiest job, the tenderfoot was 
delighted to hold the sack. Some one of the men 
would take him away off, probably a mile or more 
from camp, and place him there, while the rest 
of the party were to drive the snipe into it. All 
the rest, instead of driving the snipe into the 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIRST MEETING CUSTER 101 

sack, would quietly steal off to bed, leaving the 
ambitious hunter there holding the sack. 

I have known tenderf eet to stay and hold the 
sack all night before tumbling to the fact that 
they had been sold. Others would stay out an 
hour or two, and, becoming disgusted, would re- 
turn to camp to find all their friends sound 
asleep. Then they, too, would find that they had 
been sold, and would crawl into bed and go to 
sleep. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XV 



THE FOET PHIL KEAENY MASSACEE 




Red Cloud. 



In the recital of these various 
episodes in my career the 
reader must remember that 
they are but a few, not only 
in my own experience, but in- 
finitesimal in comparison 
with the many that were con- 
stantly occurring on a vast 
theater of the plams, extend- 
ing from the Canadian bor- 
der on the north to the Rio 
Grande on the south, and from the Missouri on 
the east to the foot-hills of the Rockies on the 
west. This was an arena, a scene of action, 
larger than any identified with any known past 
war in the world's history. 

Many of the most celebrated wars of Eu- 
rope were enacted in a space that would be hardly 
noticeable in this colossal field of savage contest. 
This gave a liberty of action that greatly favored 

102 



Digitized by 



Google 



FORT KEARNY MASSACRE 108 

the aborigines, as, with their marvelous mobility, 
their familiarity with the topography, with the 
immense herds of buffalo and other game to re- 
plenish his commissary, with vast herds of ponies, 
faithful as dogs, trained to follow him and forage 
for themselves, the Indian when on the war-path 
as regards impedimenta had a distinct ad- 
vantage in celerity of pursuit or in rapidity of 
retreat. His tactics were of such an original 
nature as to almost reach strategic perfection, and 
his freedom of action, in scattering like chaff be- 
fore the winds in emergency and reassembling at 
some distant spot to return to the attack under 
advantageous circumstances, could only be lik- 
ened to the activity of a Jersey mosquito. The 
necessity, to a great extent, of the soldiers to 
keep in close contact, made them greatly depend- 
ent on the intelligence of that offspring of expe- 
rience in this practically new game of warfare, 
the reliability and judgment of the scout. On 
him the responsibility rested, and many of my 
brave confreres gave invaluable service to the 
cause. That is, I wish to impress upon the reader 
that while telling these plain, unvarnished tales 
of the plains, many more could be added, but of 
such a similar character that their interest would 
depend solely upon the difference in situation and 
the technical methods of meeting it, that could be 
only elaborated in a much larger book, and also 



Digitized by 



Google 



104 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

to impress the fact that I was not the **only peb- 
ble on the beach/* but one who possibly was as 
lucky and fortunate as competent. A roster of 
the great scouts would be too long to repeat, but 
while I was at one point, there were others facing, 
with more or less success, the same risks, dangers 
and problems as I. I also wish here to say that 
victory did not always perch on the white man's 
banner, for at some stages of the game the red 
rangers went us one better. While Roman Nose, 
Black Kettle, Tall Bull, Yellow Hand, and num- 
bers of great chiefs received stinging defeats and 
were sent to the happy hunting grounds them- 
selves, the pages of frontier history teem with 
sanguinary successes, which will show that the 
red man did not always "get it in the neck." One 
of these successful red warriors, who for years 
was known as the "Terror of the Plains,'* well 
earned that title, and that is my present Indian 
friend. Red Cloud, now living at Pine Ridge 
Agency, over eighty years old, blind and feeble, 
and whose obituaries, when he crosses the Divide, 
will revive the stories of an epoch that will be 
instructive to the entire nation and intensely in- 
teresting to the great centers of industry and ag- 
riculture now existing where he once roamed at 
will. His presence on the scene to-day, and the 
civilized condition of his people and the progress 
they are making, is a striking lesson on how 



Digitized by 



Google 




o 

Cm 



Q 
O 

3 

Q 
Q 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



FORT KEARNY MASSAC>RE 106 

quickly Western history has been made. ^ Among 
his many feats was the wily emming w?th which 
he engineered what is known as the "Fb*rt Phil 
Keamy Massacre." As an example of thfe feel- 
ing that his very name inspired, an inciden\t will 
illustrate: On old Red Cloud's last visit jEast 
to Washington and New York, he was my giAest, 
and when Major Burke, escorting him from tihe 
station with American Horse and Rocky Bea!r, 
entered the lobby of the Madison Square Garden, 
Colonel "Billy'* Worth and his adjutant were 
standing there in the half -darkness of the entry, 
and when the distinguished Indian visitors ar- 
rived an introduction to him was given. Colonel 
"Billy" looked up at the tall Indian in astonish- 
ment, and, as they passed on in, he said: "What I 
What the deuce are you giving me? Who did 
you say that wasr "Why, Red Cloud.'' "Why, 
really ? Great Scott I he was the worriment of my 
youth. How that redskin did make me hop across 
the prairies in daytime and sleep restlessly in my 
blanket at night I Come on, let me have a good 
look at him. It is refreshing under these condi- 
tions." Colonel "Billy" joined me, with his old- 
time terror, at lunch. Poor Colonel "Billy" re- 
ceived such attention from the sharp-shooting 
Spaniards at Santiago that he never recovered 
from it. He gained a star for his shoulder-strap, 
being wounded three times at San Juan Hill, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



J 



I 

i 
I 

106 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

proved f gallant son of his gallant father, whose 
monmnent stands on Broadway, opposite the 
Hoffman House. Well, to return to the times 
of old and Fort Phil Keamy. Fort Phil Kearny 
^^^^ is ppjbably more famed as a seat of continuous 
' A contests than any spot in the West. Located in 
18Q6^ it was for two or three years continually 
i^a state of siege, in the irregular Indian method 
""/-like the flight of a swallow in the twilight — 
Appearing and disappearing with lightning 
rapidity. There was hardly a time that a stroll 
outside of the stockade did not savor of an invi- 
tation to death. It had been attacked as often 
as fifteen times in one month and twenty in an- 
other month, and was a rendezvous for the wagon 
trains following the Bozeman trail, which invited 
attack for plunder as well as for revenge. The 
Sioux Indians, notwithstanding there was a par- 
tial treaty, resented its establishment, as they saw 
that it would be a protecting point for settle- 
ments* Red Cloud was then a young, ambitious 
and a most powerful rising chief of the Ogalalla 
Sioux, and ignored the actions of the older In- 
dian chiefs. In 1865, at the Hamey-Sanbome 
treaty, he boldly denounced the white man's in- 
vasion, sprang up from the council, called on the 
discontented to follow him, and went on the war- 
path. From that time that section became a 
veritable burying-ground, wherever the wil^ 



Digitized by 



Google 



FORT KEARNY MASSACRE 107 

chief could succeed in finding subjects for his 
vengeance. At this early stage of active ag- 
gression by the United States army, there were 
many distinguished officers of brilliant record 
and personal bravery beyond compare in the Civil 
War who came Westward filled with ambitions, 
but with contempt of the Indian foe — ^veterans 
m the art of civilized warfare, but victims in many 
instances to the strategic cunning of the In* 
dian. Red Cloud kept the fort in constant agi- 
tation, even making it dangerous to collect wood 
on the surrounding hillsides. In the first six 
months, there were 154 persons killed and a great 
nimiber wounded, besides hundreds of animals, 
cattle and mules stolen. One of these attacks is 
famed because of the fall of Colonel Fetterman, 
and his men were practically victims of gallantry^ 
and indiscretion. Colonel Fetterman was a man 
with a splendid record. Although he had several 
experiences, in one of which Lieutenant Bingham 
was killed, together with several soldiers, and 
only the timely arrival of General Carrington 
himself saved ihem, yet he still expressed himself 
that with "a hundred men he could ride through 
the Sioux nation.'' On the fatal occasion, the 
wood-train had been sent out to secure wood and 
bring timber to finish building the hospital for 
the fort. Soon information was brought from 
one of the outposts on the hill to General Car^ 



Digitized by 



Google 



108 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

rington that the train was in peril. Colonel Fet- 
terman was put in command of about 100 men 
and started to form a junction with the wood- 
train. He made a detour, hoping to take the 
Indians in the rear. The Indian scouts, on see- 
ing his advance from the other side of the hill, 
left a few to occupy the attention of the wood- 
train and concentrated on Fetterman. The wood- 
train broke corral and went oflF seven miles north- 
east of the fort to the Piney. The Indians 
massed in overwhelming nimibers, and, notwith- 
standing the bravery of the little command, sim- 
ply wiped them out of existence, and then re- 
tired to celebrate their victory. In one spot was 
found a pile of about forty-nine men stripped of 
clothing and mutilated. Colonels Fetterman and 
Brown were found lying side by side, some be- 
lieving that, at the last moment, rather than be 
captured, they died by each other's hands. Lieu- 
tenant Grummond, who had escaped a similar 
fate almost a month before, was among the dead. 
The bodies were strewn along the road to where 
he lay. The bodies of two civilians, Messrs. 
Whitley and Fisher, were found with 100 empty 
shells, showing that these frontiersmen had sold 
their lives dearly. There were great clots of 
blood found on the ground and grass, showing 
that the defenders had stung the enemy fiercely, 
tThe news of this disaster was received all over 



Digitized by 



Google 



FORT KEARNY MASSACRE 109 

the country with horror, while from one end of 
the plains to the other, among the red men, rang 
peans of praise for the great yomig Red Cloud; 
and his achievements gave him a power in the 
Sioux councils that he held through many long 
years. It also gave the plainsmen and the mili- 
tary a lesson that the red man was not a foe to 
be despised. In fact, it seems to me that the 
more deadly the weapons of the present day be- 
come, personal bravery and individual defiance 
of danger would be as it was with the savage In- 
dians, more subservient to cunning, strategy and 
foresight, aided by the adoption of the methods 
of present mechanism and science. Anyhow, for 
many, many years Red Cloud kept us guessing 
and always on guard. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XVI 



ONE YEAB AFTER, OE BED CLOUD AND CAPTAIN 
POWELL — THIETY-TWO AOAINST THBEE THOU- 
SAND AT FOET PHIL SXAENY — ^MAOIC OF 
THE NEW GUN, "bAD MEDICINE*' 
MACHINE 

Red Cloud's continued 
success drew to his ranks 
ambitious braves from 
every section, every tribe 
and every nation of In- 
dians contributing in some 
measure to swell his ranks. 
Renegades from even 
former opposing tribes, 
fighting chiefs and war- 
riors from the Northern Sioux, the Unkpapas, 
Miniconjous, Ogalallas, Brules and Sans Arcs, 
besides hundreds of Cheyennes, and stray dis- 
contented bands from the Southern Comanches, 
Arapahoes, Kiowas, and others from the South, 
came to join him, until he had such a formidable 

no 




Digitized by 



Google 



Ol^E YEAR AFTER 111 

organization that if it were understood that these 
tribes were of as many nations as distinct in a 
way as among the white races, one-half of 
his followers would be entitled to the name 
and devilish recklessness of the most famed 
"foreign legions/* To say that he kept the vast 
theater of contest in hot water, a continuous 
stew, or made the plains as active as a picnic 
party or a hornets' nest, is not exaggeration. He 
kept Fort Phil Kearny practically invested for 
a year, and with predatory bands, sent here and 
there over the plains, he carried devastation and 
destruction to the most unexpected quarters, pos- 
sessing as he did an organization that, conditions 
permitting, made his force as eflfective as light- 
horse cavalry. However, the inventive genius 
and commercial spirit of the white man in shop 
and factory was actively engaged in producing 
firearms so improved that, like the needle-gun in 
the Prussians* hands in the European wars of 
1866 to 1872, they created in his simple mind an 
astonishment that he could not believe or dream 
of until he suffered from a fearful demonstration 
of the fact. Myself and others, of course, kept 
up our personal "pull" by adoptiujg every im- 
provement from the old muzzle-loader to the 
breechloading Springfield and the repeaters, 
Henry, Remington and Winchester, which 
gave us often tihie necessary protective advan-. 



Digitized by 



Google 



112 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

tage. This improvement in arms was des- 
tined, a little over a year after the Fetter- 
man massacre, to give Red Cloud and "Mr. 
Injmi" the surprise of their lives, and some- 
thing to think of as "Bad Medicine." Sav- 
age as we have called him, the Indian in his primi- 
tive state was most loyal in his belief and appeal, 
under all circumstances and conditions, to the 
Supreme Being, always appealing for guidance, 
assistance and success to the "Great Spirit," 
Whether it was in following the chase for sub- 
sistence, success in war, for rapine, murder, plun- 
der or horse-stealing, for abundance in crops and 
grasses, or in conquests in love, he was strikingly 
imbued with the necessity of the Great Ruler's 
friendly assistance, or "Good Medicine." Failure 
in all these pursuits he attributed to the prepon- 
derating influence of the "Evil Spirit" or "Bad 
Medicine." So, after several campaigns of con- 
tinued success, the reader can imagine the sur- 
prise, not to say consternation and depression, 
that resulted from his audacious attempt to at 
last annihilate the garrison at Fort Phil Kearny. 
He assembled nearly three thousand warriors for 
this purpose, all well equipped with carbines and 
muzzle-loaders, but was unaware that the fort 
had been supplied with the new Allen modifica- 
tion of the Springfield breech-loading rifle. Be- 
sides the rifles, carbines, etc., the Indians were 



Digitized by 



Google 



ONE YEAR AFTER lid 

mighty well equipped for close-in fighting with 
the bow and arrow. With the latter, in time of 
war, and in a close fight with the whites, an ex- 
pert archer could keep up a stream of these 
death-dealing missiles with a rapidity equalingthe 
best Winchester of to-day, and limited only to 
the number of arrows, a hundred or more that his 
quivers held. In the scheme of battle that Red 
Cloud had designed on this occasion, he had in- 
t^ided to overwhelm, even at great loss, the 
ability of a muzzle-loading enemy to withstand 
his attack, backed with the arrow experts, whose 
work would be far superior to that of the re- 
volver. This had been done in minor engage- 
ments successfully, but had never been tried on 
as complete a scale as "Red" intended it on this 
occasion, though the idea just simply happened a 
little too late. Suddenly investing the fort, he 
found the wood-train, as he thought, in exactly 
the same condition as it had been under Fetter- 
man; but experience had taught the troops, wlio, 
armed magnificently and imder the capable lead 
of Captain Jas. W. Powell and Lieutenant Jen- 
ness, had been long preparing for defense in case 
of surprise. In hauling the timber and wood for 
winter use, the wagon beds were not used, the 
wood and timber being carried upon the running 
gears, and the wagon beds were used to form an 
oblong corral, with openings at each end, so that 



Digitized by 



Google 



114 TRUE TALES OP THE PLAINS 

in emergency they; could be closed by wagons 
which had the beds on them. The wagon beds 
were used to store all the camp equipage, cloth- 
ing, commissaries, etc., while reenforced with 
sand-bags and anything that would stop a bullet, 
and, if I remember correctly, they were lined with 
boiler iron, with rifle loop-holes, making a splen- 
did protection to the besieged. This lining of the 
wagons with boiler iron had been adopted by us 
some time before, and I mention it now as a fore- 
runner of the after-adoption of similar methods 
on railroad engines, on war vessels, and on the 
contemplated war automobiles of to-day. As pre- 
liminary to the attack on the fort. Red Cloud 
thou^t to repeat the Fetterman result and sent 
about five hundred picked men to surround the 
little corral to which Powell and the woodmenhad 
retreated, numbering thirty-two in all. Wagon 
sheets were thrown over the topsof thewagonbeds 
to screen the defenders from observation and save 
them perhaps from the ill-eflfects of the arrow fire 
at close quarters. There was plenty of ammuni- 
tion and plenty of rifles. Every man had at least 
three, and some no fewer than eight. Some men, 
who were not considered deadly shots, were told 
oflF to keep cleaning up for the others. There 
was a quartet of old frontiersmen, led by one 
renowned as a dead shot, Joe Meriville, and oth- 
ers whose names at the present time I sincerely 



Digitized by 



Google 



ONE YEAR AFTER 116 

regret that I cannot remember, who averaged 
eight or ten weapons apiece. Powell himself 
took one end of the corral and Jenness the other, 
and everything was prepared to give the haughty 
Sioux a lesson in the range, power and wonder- 
ful rapidity of fire which the new rifle permitted. 
At the same time, the Indians had really sur- 
prised them, and appeared in such nimibers that 
the little garrison, from commander down, on 
hasty consultation decided that it was a forlorn 
hope to think of escape, though all were deter- 
mined to fight to the last breath. The Indians 
spread out and gallantly charged, while the main 
body of Indians between them and the fort 
looked on exultantly, fully prepared to take ad- 
vantage of any opening. Powell had command- 
ed not a shot to be fired until his orders, and, in- 
spiring his men with his own coolness, it was 
reserved until the yelling horde came within one 
hundred and fifty, then one hundred, then fifty 
yards from them, when "Fire, boys I Fire!" was 
shouted, and a perfect sheet of flame burst forth, 
horses and riders tumbled, and a driving sleet of 
bullets struck the charging mass. To the In- 
dians' astonishment, the fire did not stop at one 
volley, as usual, but continued to belch forth un- 
interruptedly. Then the foe circled around at a 
mad gallop, but, like the blazing spark from a 
fireworks pin-wheel, the corral responded with 



Digitized by 



Google 



116 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

death-dealing effect, which at last the survivors 
hurriedly escaped from. The result to the de- 
fenders was encouraging, as a mass of horses, 
with dead and wounded Indians, lay in all direc- 
tions, as a forest of trees falls by the striking of 
a tornado. The corral lost the gallant Lieu- 
tenant Jenness, with a bullet through his head, 
one soldier was killed and two were severely 
wounded, leaving twenty-eight at the post. To 
the Indians the whole affair was a terrible puz- 
zle, and they actually believed that the corral held 
ten times the number of men, for they now adopt- 
ed a new method by preparing to surround the 
corral with skirmishers, the bow-and-arrow men 
creeping forward ahead of those with rifles, 
taking advantage of every depression in 
the ground until within range, then to over- 
come the besieged with gun and arrow fire 
when the main attack would be made by the en- 
tire body of warriors. This was wonderfully skil- 
ful in execution, but the defense was almost im- 
pregnable, and the defenders were silent under 
the fusillade that tore into the wagons and the 
arrows that pierced through the sheets. So ter- 
rific was the fire, that it soimded like crackling 
thunder, and the strategic silence that ensued 
caused the Indians to think that it had been ef- 
fective, although, actually, not a defender was 
hurt in this second attack. Under a heavy fire 



Digitized by 



Google 



ONE YEAR AFTER 117 

from the skirmishers, a thousand Indians broke 
into a charge, encom'aged by the silence, when 
again rang out the merciless fire, led by Powell's 
own rifle. On they pressed until almost to the 
wagon beds, suffering from a slaughter almost 
unheard of, when back they again rode. A few 
feet more, and it would have been all over in a 
hand-to-hand conflict. But so close had they 
come that some of the men threw missiles in their 
faces. 

This was repeated for six times, the sixth being 
the final charge and repulse, which if it had been 
followed by another would have been successful, 
as many of the rifles had become overheated, 
others useless, and the ammunition was nearly ex- 
hausted. Then, to add to the general joy, the 
distant soimd of a howitzer was heard, and Major 
Smith from the fort, with one hundred men, was 
seen in the distance, and a shell burst in the midst 
of the Indians as another puzzle in the use of 
arms. The principal effort the Indians made 
then was to carry off their wounded, which they 
eventually succeeded in doing, after making a 
stand for a while against Smith's command, 
when, disheartened and dismayed, they sullenly 
retreated. Captain Powell, in his report, says 
that another attack would have been successful, 
owing to the exhausted condition of arms, ammu- 
nition and men. The Indians had a splendid 



Digitized by 



Google 



118 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

opportunity in the open to check Smith's com- 
mand, but, believing in the Great Spirit's anger 
and that there was "Bad Medicine'' in the neigh- 
borhood, they thought it best to retire from the 
influence of the "Evil Spirit." So strenuous was 
this fight that the participants were for several 
days almost crazed with excitement and nervous 
strain, many with their health completely broken ; 
while Powell himself was never the same robust 
man after that woeful day. Years afterward, 
it was ascertained that the loss on the part of the 
Indians was 1,187. Colonel Dodge likens it to 
a story of Cortez; almost incredible was it; while 
it is even now referred to by the Indians as the 
"Bad Medicine" fight with the white man. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XVII 



Custer's fight at the washita * 




It will be remembered that 
General Sheridan had insti- 
tuted methods of fighting the 
Indians somewhat in their 
own style, and continuing it 
under the most distressing 
conditions in the winter. His 
object, of course, was to 
attack, pimish, and, if nec- 
essary, successfully carom 
them, like a billiard ball, properly handled, "to 
safety," or, in other words, to the cushion — • 
a fort or a protected rendezvous. Among his 
ablest and most daring lieutenants at the time 
was the dashing cavalry hero of the Army of the 
Potomac, whose fame is forever enshrined in the 
memory of his coimtry. The record of this man 
at the close of the Civil War, when, at the age of 
twenty-four, he had risen from a second lieuten- 
ant to major-general, commanding a division of 

119 



Digitized by 



Google 



120 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

cavalry, is remarkable. Transferred with a regi- 
ment of well selected veterans (the Seventh 
United States Cavalry) to the frontier, he dupli- 
cated in all but one instance his brilliant record 
by many successes in the peculiar "hide-and-go- 
seek" savage warfare of the plains. I allude to 
"Old Ciwly," as styled by his men, and to the 
"White Chief of the YeUow Hair," as styled 
by the Indians, General Grcorge Armstrong 
Custer. 

His final campaign is so strikingly remem- 
bered that it is well here to give a short descrip- 
tion of one of his thrillingly successful battles, 
sometimes called "Custer's Victory of the 
Washita." I have already described the diflJ- 
culty of campaigning in winter, in the snows and 
blizzards, and this march and fight was accom- 
panied by the most exacting physical discomforts 
that imagination can grasp. As it occiu*red in 
1868, from Sheridan's desire to pimish Black 
Kettle's band of marauders, this chief having 
succeeded Roman Nose, killed in the fight witii 
Forsyth. The latter, one of the most crafty, suc- 
cessful, and brutal of the plains Indians, had 
raided witii extraordinary success, and, with his 
plimder and captives, had joined Satanta's and 
Little Raven's bands so as to be in full force in 
case of attack, while enjoying a rest from the 
winter's storms in some secluded haven of safety. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CUSTER'S FIGHT 121 

This very repose was what the military authori- 
ties desired to prevent, as I have said before, at 
any cost, in defiance of the conditions. 

General Sheridan, who was in command of the 
Department, was himself in the field. These In- 
dians, having perpetrated many outrages, popu- 
lar indignation seconded and demanded active 
retribution. The Indians, naturally, in winter 
drifted southward if possible, and Sheridan had 
made a rendezvous at Camp Supply, in Indian 
Territory, a hundred miles soutii of Fort Dodge. 
Believing that they were in camp in concealment 
somewhere, Sheridan elected to detach Custer 
and his regiment and send them on a scout, while 
he himself would seek in another direction, with 
Camp Supply as a base. On November 28d, 
at four o'clock in the morning, in a snow-storm, 
Custer reported himself ready to march, with his 
usual evidenced anxiety to get on the trail. 
Floimdering through the snow, but with such 
experienced guides as "Old California Joe" 
Corbin, and Romero, Little Beaver and some 
Osage Indian scouts, the command moved on for 
fifteen miles to Wolf Creek, where a meal was 
greatly enjoyed and assisted to coimteract the 
effects of the severe weather. On the 24th, they 
moved along Wolf Creek, all the time the tem- 
perature being below zero. The same occurred 
on the 25th. On the 26th, the Canadian River 



Digitized by 



Google 



122 TRUE TALES OP THE PLAINS 

was reached, and Major Elliot was sent on a 
prospecting tour, while he crossed the river with 
his immediate command. The ice was not strong 
enough to bear them up, so they had to break 
through it in fording the river. After crossing, 
Scout Corbin brought news that Elliot had 
struck a trail on the south side of the river. This 
he was sent orders to follow imtil night, and then 
to wait for Custer and his men. Leaving the 
wagon train behind him under an escort, aban- 
doning some and taking their pack train of mules, 
a hundred roimds of ammunition and commissary 
stores of one day's rations of coffee and hardtack, 
and some forage for his horses, he hastened on. 
Troop after troop was relieved at the front for 
breaking the road, and the horses were pushed to 
the limit of their condition of safety, as the In- 
dians, if they were in as large a number as be- 
lieved, might ambush Elliot and his men. They 
reached Elliot at nine o'clock, camping on a small 
stream, and building fires for cooking in the 
thick timber, which concealed them, having some 
deep ravines; the conmiand was somewhat re- 
freshed. A coimcil was called, and it was decided 
to wait until the moon rose, and then to follow 
the Indian trail. The rest did the command some 
good, the saddle-girths being loosened, and the 
horses given their scanty supply. With an able 
disposition of the scouts in advance, Custer led 



Digitized by 



Google 



CUSTER'S FIGHT 123 

his men, and, in about an hour's ride. Little 
Beaver approached and said that he smelt fire. 
A halt, and Custer and the scouts went forward, 
crawled up over the ridge, saw a little fire 
smouldering, which the scout said had 
been used by those guarding the ponies. The 
main camp was at no great distance. Extra 
precautions of silence were enjoined, and, with 
cat-like caution, the regiment followed until 
about one o'clock, when the advance reported the 
enemy in front. Half a mile away was seen by 
those acute eyes what they knew to be a herd of 
ponies, and even the distant barking of the dogs 
could be heard. Custer and the scouts surveyed 
the situation and came back to the command. 
Only whispers were allowed, and even stamping 
of the feet was forbidden. While waiting, some 
of the men slept leaning against their horses; 
some slept on the snow, wrapped in their over- 
coats and blankets, waiting for the command. 
The reader can imagine the intensity of feeling 
that existed among those engaged in this adven- 
ture, as at this kind of a game it was terribly true 
that the white man had not always been success- 
f ul, Custer relates that in a whispered conversa- 
tion with my old partner, "California Joe," on 
asking him: "Joe, what do you think of the 
chances?" (in those days the rude kitchen articles 
were carved out of horns )^ Joe's reply was; 



Digitized by 



Google 



124 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

"Well, by gosh, General, we'll make a spoon or 
spile a horn." The time was ripe, the men were 
aroused, girths were tightened, and whispered 
commands were given. Cook's sharpshooters 
dismoimted and advanced. The regiment was 
divided into four squadrons. Major Elliot was 
to go aroimd on the left and get in the rear of 
the camp; Thompson, on the right, was to con- 
nect with Elliot; Captain Myers on the right, and 
Thompson on the left, with Custer and four 
troops in what would be the center. Hoping for 
no discovery by the foe, Custer was to gauge the 
time necessary and give the signal to attack with 
the bugle. About an hour before dawn. Captain 
Myers' troop took up the last and nearest posi- 
tion. A moment before the General was about 
to order the charge soimded, a rifle-shot signal 
was heard from one of the Indian guards in the 
camp, and Custer's bugle soimded. Three echoes 
came from three different directions, the cavalry 
charged, and with cheers the fracas opened. 
Jumping from their lodges, hiding behind trees, 
or lining the bank of the little stream, that acted 
as a rifle-pit, the reds fought desperately. Cap- 
tain Hamilton was killed; Captain Bamitz fell 
mortally wounded, with a bullet just under his 
heart, and here and there others fell, while an 
effective fire mowed down the surprised Indians. 
Scattering in bands, they succeeded in making a 



Digitized by 



Google 



CUSTER^S FIGHT 125 

hot fight for over an hour. Seventeen were m 
one protected depression m the ground, who 
fought on unta they were all killed. A band of 
about forty, in a ra^dne, peppered away heroi- 
cally, imtil all were sent to the happy hunting 
grounds. Black Kettle himself was killed, be- 
sides one hundred and three of his warriors. The 
village was captured; the pony herds were shot, 
as they could not be carried away, taking an hour 
to kill eight hundred and seventy-five of them. 
The village and all its possessions of winter pro- 
visions, including a iiiousand buffalo robes, hun- 
dreds of pounds of dried meat, etc., were de- 
stroyed. Over five hundred pounds of powder 
and one thousand poimds of lead were at the same 
time captured. Fifty-three squaws and children 
were made prisoners, thus entirely destroying 
Black Kettle and his band. Besides those officers 
mentioned, there were five of our men killed and 
eleven woimded. Elliot and his party of four- 
teen, who had followed some flying parties, were 
missing, having run into a larger band of Indians 
in a large adjoining village, which threatened 
now to rush on the command and give tit-for-tat; 
but Custer rallied every man, threw out skir- 
mishing parties, and advanced with his bands and 
bugles playing, and, after some sharp fighting, 
the Indians, believing that he must have rein- 
forcements, and seeing Major Bell with an escort 



Digitized by 



Google 



126 TRUE TALES OP THE PLAINS 

coining dashing with a load of ammunition, 
whidi, by the way, was badly needed, and having 
Little Rock, their fighting chief, killed, they 
broke away and scattered. An unknown number 
were killed and woimded during the all-day fight- 
ing. A white woman and child were found in 
the village, who were killed by the Indians for 
revenge during the opening of the fight. Owing 
to the condition of the weather, etc., it was nec- 
essary to get back to Camp Supply to recuper- 
ate, whidi was successfully accomplished. That 
same winter, Custer repeated the same trick on a 
larger village and wiped it from the face of the 
earth and captured Satanta, whom he held until 
many white captives were given up in exchange. 
After some rest following the battle of the Wash- 
ita, a search party was sent out to find trace of 
Elliot and his men, whose remains they foimd, 
the story being afterward learned from the In- 
dians how catastrophe overcame them. Flushed 
with success in the Black Kettle village, Elliot 
piu*sued the flying band and ran into the midst 
of a big band of braves coming to assist in the 
fight. They were seen, an ambush was quickly 
effected, and they were surrounded. Their horses 
were shot down and others dismounted, and they 
stood back to back till all died gallantly fighting. 
When found, none had less than two bullet 
woundSj and Sergeant Kennedy; no fewer than 



Digitized by 



Google 



CUSTER'S FIGHT 127i 

twenty. Their mutilated remains were filled with 
arrows. Thus success teetered back and forth 
between the white man and the red, showing the 
need of caution to offset cunning. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XVIII 

GENERAI. "sandy" FORSYTH's FIGHT ON THE EE- 
PUBLICAN — ^SCOUT JACK STH-WELL's HEEOISM 

Desiring to do justice to the 
memory of some of the scouts 
who were my abnost con- 
stant companions in the days 
of my life upon the plains, 
and who achieved distinction 
for their remarkable work, I 
will relate some stories about 
Jack Stilwell. Of all the 
scouts reared in the Far West 
during Indian uprisings. Jack 
Stilwell died with the record of having performed 
one of the most heroic actions known in the annals 
of Indian warfare on the American frontier. He 
died but a few years ago, and, before his death, 
had been a county judge of Oklahoma, and 
afterward went with me to Wyoming, where 
he died. His wit and philosophical remarks 
are still a matter of comment out West. 

138 



■ 


m 


■ 


1 




^^H 

^^^H 


s 


1^ 


1 



Gen. George A. Forsyth. 



Digitized by 



Google 



GENERAL FORSYTH'S FIGHT 129 

As an example, they tell a story of a hot 
debate between StUwell and another plains-^ 
man about seeing a cyclone. The other fellow 
said he had seen a cyclone while riding alone upon 
the plains, Stilwell insisted that he didn't, for 
the reason that it took two men to see a cyclone, 
one to say "Gee whiz, here it comes I" and the 
other to say "Christianny, there she goes!" It 
is one of my pleasantest memories to recall that 
as my guest during the World's Fair, and later 
in New York, he first beheld the wonders of 
civilization, of which he knew so little, as well as 
the vasty deep, which typified a side of nature 
to which he was an utter stranger. His great- 
est feat of heroism was in accomplishing the 
rescue of General George A. Forsyth, who, in 
September, 1868, was besieged by Indians. Gen- 
eral Forsyth was in command of a body of about 
fifty plainsmen, enlisted as scouts, andcampedbe- 
side the Arickaree River, a small stream inNorth- 
westem Kansas. The Indians had been report- 
ed as uprising, and the expedition was projected 
for the purpose of finding out the true state of 
affairs. It being a season when very little water 
was in the river, the party removed its camp to 
an island in the middle of the stream. There 
their worst fears were early realized, for, at nine 
o'clock on the morning of September 17, 1868, 
Chief Roman Nose entered the river valley with 



Digitized by 



Google 



180 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

his braves, squaws and children, and prepared for 
an attack. Roman Nose was an heroic specimen 
of the Indian warrior, and he headed a party of 
nearly a thousand hostile braves. Grcneral For- 
syth immediately began making the best prepara- 
tions he could with a view to fortifying his posi- 
tion, digging rifle-pits and placing saddles and 
other available material in a cirde aroimd his 
men. There was so little water in the river-bed 
that he knew hand-to-hand encounters would re- 
sult from the impending attack, unless the ad- 
vancing host could be repelled before they 
reached the imperiled soldiers. Back in the val- 
ley, in full view of the Forsyth party. Chief 
Roman Nose addressed his warriors. The low 
bluffs surrounding the scene were fairly alive 
with the wives and children of the united tribes, 
numbering easily into the thousands, and their 
wild cries of rage and encouragement were added 
to the war-whoops of the fighting forces. Stirred 
to strong emotion by the impassioned words of 
their war-chief, the Indians swept toward their 
prey with horses at full gallop. Roman Nose led 
the column, decked in his gaudy-feathered war- 
bonnet, and clad only in a crimson sash, knotted 
about his waist, swinging his rifle above his head, 
and uttering unearthly yells of defiance to fate 
and encouragement to his braves. Indian sharp- 
shooters, ranged in hiding along both banks of 



Digitized by 



Google 



GENERAL FORSYTH'S FIGHT 181 

the stream, began pouring into the Forsjrth posi* 
tion a deadly fire at close range. The besieged 
men croudied in the rifle-pits they had dug in the 
sand, their firearms in readiness, awaiting the 
word of command. Closer came the cavalcade 
of redskins, imtil their fellow-sharpshooters were 
compelled to cease firing for fear of killing their 
own men. Then Forsyth shouted: "Now!'' and 
a crash of musketry rang from fifty guns. It was 
apparent that the Indians were bent upon riding 
down their prey and killing them on the spot. 
The fitst volley made no change in their inten- 
tions. At a second volley, they did not waver, 
but when others followed, too rapidly to count, 
the ranks began to thin out, and, at last, Roman 
Nose went down, shot dead from his horse. The 
death of their defiant leader sent consternation 
into the ranks of his followers, and when they 
were within a hundred yards of the miniature 
fort they broke and scattered in a panic. For- 
syth's men now rose in their rifle-pits and poiwed 
a volley into the depleted ranks of the retreating 
foe and dropped again just in time to escape the 
bullets of the sharpshooters still lurking in am- 
bush. 

During the next two hours, the Forsyth party 
dug their rifle-pits deeper, strengthened their 
barricades with the bodies of their destroyed 
horses, and protected themselves as best tlie;^ 



Digitized by 



Google 



182 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

could against a second attack. At two o'clock, 
the Indians were again driven off, and for a third 
time they returned at four o'clock, to be once 
more and finally repulsed. The Forsytii party 
suffered severely in all three of the attacks. AU 
their horses and mules had been killed, thus cut- 
ting off their means of escape. Lieutenant Fred 
Beecher, a nephew of Henry Ward Beecher, the 
distinguished Brooklyn divine, with five of his 
men, had also been killed or mortally wounded, 
and seventeen men, including General Forsyth, 
had been seriously woimded. Practically, only 
seven men out of the original nimiber were un- 
harmed. Everybody knew that the Indian tac- 
tics would result in a siege, in the hope of starv- 
ing them out, or picking them off, one by one, by 
sharpshooting from cover. Fort Wallace, the 
nearest military post, was one hundred miles 
away, and the situation was indeed desperate for 
General Forsyth and his men, without food, and 
surrounded by nearly a thousand Indians. The 
dead horses were cut into strips for food, and a 
well, inside the circular breastworks, was dug for 
water. The defense was further strengthened 
as best it could be, and, ever-watchful, they 
passed four days with no sign from the Indians 
save an occasional shot when a scout indiscreet- 
ly rose to stretch himself. On the second day, the 
horse-meat could not be eaten. Suffering became 



Digitized by 



Google 



GENERAL FORSYTH'S FIGHT 183 

intense, and sending for help was absolutely nec- 
essary, else the command would perish. Jack 
Stilwell, a beardless youth in buckskin, volun- 
teered to go to Fort Wallace. Old "Pete" 
Tnideau, a frontiersman, said he would go with 
him. At midnight the pair crept out from the 
breastworks and were quickly lost sight of. Stil- 
well decided that the best route to take would be 
by going directly ashore and over the bluff, and 
not to detour up or down the river or follow the 
ravines into the interior, for he judged that the 
Indians would guard these seemingly less peril- 
ous avenues, feeUng that no one would take a 
chance of escaping over the bluff. Crawling on 
their stomachs, and sometimes on their hands and 
knees, three miles were covered before dawn. 
They saw Indians on every hand. The first stage 
of their long journey brought them to the top 
of the divide between the Arickaree and South 
Republican rivers. There they concealed them- 
selves for the day in a wash-out, or head of a 
draw, where the banks had been overgrown with 
tall grass and sunflowers. From over the hill 
they could hear firing all day, which told them 
that their comrades still held out. When dark- 
ness came, they again started south, seeing on 
the road two parties of Indians, which delayed 
them greatly; and when daylight came they 
found themselves about half a mile from the 



Digitized by 



Google 



184 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

Sioux and Cheyenne village, which was the head- 
quarters of the Indians, who were still attacking 
their comrades on the little island fortress. That 
day they spent in the tall grass of a kind of 
bayou, where they lay in the water all day with- 
out moving. Indians passed very near, and once 
some warriors stopped not fifty feet away from 
them to water their horses. That night they 
crept away across the south fork of the Repub- 
lican, and the morning of the fourth day foimd 
them on the prairie at the head of Goose Creek. 
The Indians seemed to have been left behind, and 
the boy and man decided now to travel also by 
day. This piece of recklessness nearly cost them 
their lives, for about eight o'clock in the morning 
they saw Indians coming toward them, and they 
dropped into the grass. Fortunately, the In- 
dians had not discovered them, but it was neces- 
sary to hide quickly. In looking for a place to 
conceal themselves on the open plains they dis- 
covered some weeds growing around a buflFalo 
carcass. Crawling to their prospective shelter, 
they found that the buffalo had been killed about 
a year before and that the skeleton was intact, 
with little bits of hide hanging to the ribs in 
places. In a moment they had crawled into the 
skeleton with its almost unbearable stench; but 
they could not come out, for the mounted Indian 
scouts approached very near several times during 



Digitized by 



Google 



GENERAL FORSYTH'S FIGHT 185 

the day and scanned the country in all directions 
for more than an hour at a time. While one of 
these scouts was sitting his horse not fifty yards 
oflF, Stilwell and Tnideau made the unwelcome 
discovery that a rattlesnake had made the carcass 
his home, and now began crawling around. They 
could not move a hand to kill him for fear of 
the noise attracting the Indian spy, so the snake 
was allowed to "stay on the job'* until, with a 
luckily directed mouthful of tobacco spit Stilwell 
struck him on the head and he crawled away. 
The tenseness of their situation, coupled with the 
dangers at hand, began to affect Trudeau's mind, 
and he almost broke down completely. He want- 
ed to shout, shoot his revolver, and leap out from 
their hiding place, but Stilwell persuaded him to 
remain quiet imtil dark, when a refreshing drink 
of water revived him, and they traveled on 
through the night. The next day was foggy and 
they traveled by daylight without trouble. About 
eleven o'clock, when almost utterly exhausted, 
they saw coming out of the haze of the Denver 
wagon road two soldiers bearing dispatches. The 
couriers were on the way to Colonel Carpenter's 
command, lying at Lake Slater, about fifty miles 
from where General Forsyth was besieged. 
Spurring their horses, they made all haste to 
Colonel Carpenter's camp, and his force was 
quickly marched to Greneral Forsjih's relief. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XIX 



CAMPAIGNING IN WINTER 




Through a Blizzard. 



A COUNTRY of 

such vast expanse, 
unsettled, save for 
a few forts as 
places of refuge 
and succor — so 
comparatively few 
in number as to be, 
as it were, like 
pebbles on the seashore — rendered the campaign 
in winter, with the blizzard conditions, not only 
hazardous and dangerous, but, even if success- 
fully combated, attended by excruciating suf- 
fering. This the old army oflScers and soldiers of 
the early campaigns will never forget — ^the physi- 
cal discomforts and mental worrying with 
climatic conditions far excelling those that de- 
feated Napoleon in his winter campaign in the 
region about Moscow. The old army oflScer, 
soldier, scout and guide look now upon future 

186 



Digitized by 



Google 



CAMPAIGNING IN WINTER 187 

campaigning, with these conditions obviated, no 
matter how strenuous, as ahnost a picnic in 
comparison with what they were. In fact, I 
conscientiously believe that there is not, or ever 
has been, a writer who can adequately depict a 
more lonely, solemn, funereal occupation than 
these winter campaigns then were, the extreme 
physical discomforts and dangers making the 
roar of battle, with its hazardous perils and 
risks of death, practically a relief from the 
monotony of the march, the night-watch, the 
night-guard, and the camp duties of the march — 
extremely arduous under such conditions. 

I relate two or three examples. On one oc- 
casion I was out with some of the Fifth Cavalry, 
under the command of Lieutenant Bache (a de- 
scendant of Benjamin Franklin and a member 
of a well-known Philadelphia family), and, by 
the way, a magnificent young officer, who in 
various campaigns showed a bravery and dash 
that one would not associate with his aristocratic 
bearing and extreme gentility. A blizzard arose. 
Fortunately, we were near shelter, in the shape 
of some bluffs and scattered wood. When the 
blizzard was over, it was necessary for us to 
strike out on the path of duty. The thermometer 
was away below zero, and the wind cutting and 
sharp. On coming back from the lead to con- 
sult with Lieutenant Bache, I passed by him to 



Digitized by 



Google 



138 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

caution the sergeants to look out for their men 
from the cold and see that they did not become 
drowsy, and on my return I found indications 
of numbness and drowsiness even in the case of 
the Lieutenant. I aroused him, and appealed 
to him to pull himself together, but he was just 
in the humor to resent it. In consequence, I had 
to take the law into my own hands and shake him 
up in lively style, first taking the precaution of 
slipping his revolver and placing it out of his 
reach. As he did not respond to my eflForts on 
the horse, I simply dismounted, pulled him from 
the horse, and used him in what one would think 
a rather rude and rough manner. In fact, I 
had to make a punching-bag and football out 
of him, much to the astonishment of some of the 
young troopers, who came up and were going 
to avenge my apparent discourtesy to their of- 
ficer, though some of the older men explained its 
necessity. Eventually I got the Lieutenant on 
his feet, and, while our horses were being taken 
care of, an old sergeant and myself hustled him 
along on a little foot-race until we got his blood 
in circulation and so, overcoming the danger, 
we eventually arrived safely at the fort. 

On another occasion, when out with General 
Eugene A. Carr, with whom I consulted, and 
who, by the way, was one of the best posted and 
equipped Indian fighters and f ro»tier§men 05 



Digitized by 



Google 



CAMPAIGNING IN WINTER 189 

the roster of the army, we both concluded that 
on account of the pecuKar babny condition of 
the weather a blizzard would be the next thing 
in order. So we resolved to strike camp early, 
as we were then in a bleak country and over fifty 
miles from wood and water. This wood and 
water was in a lower country, where there was 
only one gap which would furnish descent into 
the valley, and that had to be reached by care- 
f al attention to direction. 

Starting early and getting the pointof thewind, 
we had not gone far before old Boreas began his 
revels. General Carr, of course, gave orders to 
the commanding ofiicers of companies in regard 
to preventing drowsiness of the men, and to quirt 
them in the case of any of them succumbing to 
the cold. I shall long remember that trip, for it 
was necessary for me to go by the wind and not 
flinch from it, for in the blinding blizzard we 
would all soon be lost. The direction brought 
the wind against my left ear, and as the storm 
soon became so blinding that even a black horse 
could not be seen ten feet from the picket-ropes, 
lariat lines were scattered along to guide the 
men, who kept so close almost as to touch each 
horse's tail. But I dared not change my posi- 
tion for fear of losing the direction, so for eight 
hours I held my left cheek and ear against the 
storm, and, of course^ suffered greatly from frosts 



Digitized by 



Google 



140 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

bite. I daxed not dismount, as did many of the 
others, Greijeral Carr himself walking nearly all 
the distance, leading his horse. I had stuffed 
my ear with a piece of saddle blanket, but, not- 
withstanding that, the ear-drum was frozen, and 
for a time it gave me intense pain and suffering; 
and up to the present day it has quite affected 
my hearing on that side. But by this pertinacity 
we reached the gap; and when I had made the 
point successfully, and the descent down into the 
cafion became assured, there were never fifteen 
hundred men who let out such yells and peans of 
joy. We were soon down into the valley, and 
the old dead timber was soon crackling in a hun- 
dred bonfires, and the axes were trimming old 
trees and cutting up new ones; and in a sheltered 
space our safety added to the good feeling, and 
joy reigned supreme. 

On another occasion, I had a very trying ex- 
perience when General Penrose's command had 
been sent to reconnoiter the surroimding country 
by General Sheridan, and were known to have 
been somewhere in a blizzard. Not hearing from 
them for several days, we knew they were up 
against it; but as all trails were covered and 
obliterated by the drifting snow, it was a serious 
problem to find them. General Carr, of course, 
consulted with me in the matter, and he relates 
the incident in detail in Carres Campaigns, of my 



Digitized by 



Google 



CAMPAIGNING IN WINTER 141 

success in finding the men. In this instance, 
knowing in what direction they had gone, I had 
to travel fifteen miles to find a ridge that they 
would cross and that the storm would blow the 
snow away from and leave bare. Following this 
ridge for five miles or more, I found the trail 
of their horses and wagons where they had 
crossed, and by the hoof -tracks located the direc- 
tion in which they had gone. I succeeded in 
reaching them, snowed in and in a terrible con- 
dition, for everything had been eaten up to such 
an extent that the horses and mules had eaten 
the manes and tails off each other. Returning 
the next day, relief was sent and the commands 
became reunited. 

As late as in the winter of 1892, the day after 
the two days' battle of Wounded Knee and the 
Mission at Pine Ridge, in the Ghost Dance War, 
a terrific blizzard arose, the thermometer nmning 
from twenty to thirty or forty degrees below 
zero. Although the conditions were much im- 
proved from the very old times, the army en- 
dvu-ed great hardship. General Brooke's com- 
mand, for instance, left on an important mission, 
in colmnns of four, with the soldiers in Govern- 
ment special-preserved buffalo overcoats. A per- 
son could hardly see the fourth man across the 
line. Twenty-seven horses were frozen on the 
picket lines, and one officer was foimd dead in 



Digitized by 



Google 



142 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

his tent, while nipped noses and ears and chil- 
blains prevailed. One young oflScer, sent out on a 
detail, endured extreme suflFering, eventually hav- 
ing his arm amputated; and the dead bodies of 
some of the men were not f oimd until the snow 
melted in the following spring. If memory 
serves me right, it was Lieutenant Piper, who 
has since been connected in an official capacity 
with the New York Police Department, who 
suflFered so severely. 

Volumes could be filled with the experience in 
the olden times of these blizzards, that even now 
wreak havoc in the fully settled sections, and one 
can hardly estimate my feelings when I am trav- 
eling in a Pullman palace car, with all the lux- 
uries of modem travel, and contrast them with 
the painful journeys of years ago over the same 
territory. It is then that I feel somewhat as 
Dick Whittington did when he contrasted his 
boy's bare-foot pilgrimage to London with all 
the gorgeous trappings and luxuries at his dispo- 
sition as Lord Mayor. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XX' 



THE FIGHT AT ELEPHANT BOCK 




General Carr. 



Among the many army offi- 
cers mider whom I have 
served, one of my earliest ex- 
periences was with Major- 
General Eugene A. Carr, re- 
tired. General Carr was a 
graduate of West Point when 
cabins were more plentiful 
than frame-houses in upper 
New York State, whence he 
came. Graduating in 1850, 
he went to the frontier and graduated in that old 
school that made him one of the best of Indian 
fighters, and where he acquired all the qualities 
of a trained frontiersman and scout. He was 
wounded with an Indian arrow in the Indian 
campaign as far back as 1854. He was one of 
the best equipped frontier officers when the Civil 
War broke out, and became prominent in some of 
its most active campaigns, often commanding a 

148 



Digitized by 



Google 



144 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

division, and receiving the distinction of a Con- 
gressional medal for his wonderful record on the 
firing line. He has been wounded four times. 
He was in the saddle and held a prominent 
command in the last Indian war of 1891-92. He 
is now living in Washington, D. C. 

In 1868, I first met him when I was a scout 
for Colonel Royal's command, whom he suc- 
ceeded. It has been the pride of my career that, 
he being an officer of such wide experience and 
ability, I secured his esteem and friendship; and 
in his writings he has been very generous in al- 
luding to my services. I had the honor of serv- 
ing with him in many trying campaigns, notably 
in that which culminated in his success over 
Tall Bull, who had long been the terror of the 
plains with what is known as the "dog soldiers," 
who were renegades recruited from a dozen dis- 
appointed tribes, and were composed of the most 
vicious, fanatical Indians who were opposed to 
the white man's intrusion in the West. The dep- 
redations were of a terrifying nature, and Carr 
was delegated to punish them at all hazards. 
Their continuous pursuit for many months was 
a very trying one, as they employed the In- 
dian's methods of annoyance in attack by 
safely scattering when hard-pressed. Knowing 
that only strategic cimning could eventually ef- 
fect subjugation or dispersal. General Carr 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIGHT AT ELEPHANT ROCK 146 

proved by his persistent energy and strategy that 
he was equal to the situation. It was during the 
continuous pursuit of these warriors that I met 
one of my closest calls in an incidental fight which 
occurred at a point called "Elephant Rock." It 
was in the spring of 1869 that we reached Ele- 
phant Rock, which is a point on a rock on the 
south side of Beaver Valley, where I found an 
Indian trail going down the Beaver; and follow- 
ing it, the conmiand went into camp. The Gen- 
eral ordered Lieutenant Ward to follow it, I 
being already on the scene. I was keeping the 
Indians in sight while covering my presence from 
them, when, somewhat to the left, almost parallel 
with them, I heard firing, and I afterward ascer- 
tained that Lieutenant Ward was in a skirmish 
so premature that at one time it threatened to cut 
me off. Greneral Carr left the command under 
Major Brown to follow with the wagons, and 
the Indians, skirmishing with great daring, put 
up a game fight. General Carr followed them 
until nearly dark, and returned to meet and pro- 
tect the wagons. Forming his men in a hollow 
square, he made an orderly retreat, the Indians 
showing great pertinacity in their skirmish tac- 
tics, so much so that the General got a bullet 
through the scabbard of his saber. Meeting the 
wagons and getting into a good position, he went 
into camp; but the Indians stayed around all 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



146 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

night, emitting the cries of owls and coy- 
otes, as usual. Next day the Indians were fol- 
lowed, and skirmishing was kept up incessantly. 
Lieutenant Schenofsky, on that occasion, came 
near being ambushed, and had a few men killed. 
This continuous skirmishing was kept up for 
three days, with myself almost continuously in 
the saddle; and while we were in front, the Gren- 
eral sounded the officers' call for consultation. I 
will permit General Carr to tell the story of an 
affair in which he punished the Indians severely, 
while the story relates also to my connection with 
the matter: 

"I had heard some firing in front where the 
advance-guard had gone out of sight. My orders 
were for the advance-guard to regulate on the 
main column, and always to keep in sight of it; 
but as Major Babcock and Lieutenant W. P. 
Hall (now General Hall) were so ambitious and 
anxious for a fight, I thought I would give them 
a chance, and so I let them alone. After hasty 
consultation regarding lack of supplies, I sent 
the bugler to recall the advance-guard. He came 
back saying he could not reach them, as they were 
surroimded by Indians. The Indians had got 
into four ravines, which headed near the trail, 
two on each side; the half-dozen had led the ad- 
vance on with insulting gestures and defiant 
words; some could speak and swear in English; 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIGHT AT ELEPHANT ROCK 147^ 

and when they came between the ravines, the 
whole poured out around them. Babcock dis- 
moimted his men and formed them in a circle and 
stood the Indians off. I sent Lieutenant Brady 
with the next company to open communications, 
and the Indians, supposing the whole command 
was coming, went on as before. Reaching the 
scene, we could see the Indians scattering in re- 
treat. A figure with apparently a red cap rose 
slowly on the hill. For an instant it puzzled me, 
as it wore a buckskin and had long hair; but on 
seeing the horse I recognized that it was Cody's 
Powder Face, and saw that it was ^Buffalo Bill,' 
without his broad-brinmied sombrero. On closer 
inspection, I saw that his head was swathed in a 
bloody handkerchief, which served not only as a 
temporary bandage, but as a chapeau — ^his hat 
having been shot off, the buUet plowing his scalp 
badly for about five inches. It had ridged along 
the bone, and was bleeding profusely — a very 
close call, but a lucky escape. However, it would 
not do to turn back immediately after such impu- 
dence, so I took to the gallop and ran them for 
twelve miles to and across the Republican and up 
the bluffs on the south side, where they acted in 
their usual aggravating style, by scattering in 
every direction after dropping a good deal of 
plimder. We could see them on the distant 
hill, but could not catch them under the circum- 



Digitized by 



Google 



148 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

stances, or without means of some counter- 
strategic cunning, so we went back and camped 
north of the Republican. The advance-guard 
had been relieved, and the Indians severely pun- 
ished, with a loss on our side of but four or five 
killed and a few wounded; this with Babcock's 
horse wounded and Cody's narrow escape as the 
resulting casualties. The object of the campaign 
was nearly accomplished, but our greatest need 
was supplies, which the hot trail had side-tracked, 
in the excitement of the necessary pursuit of the 
defiant foe. As the country was infested with 
Indians, and it was fifty miles to the nearest sup- 
ply point. Fort Kearny, on consultation with 
Cody he decided that it would be best to imder- 
take the job himself, a point characteristic of 
him, as he never shirked duty or faltered in emer- 
gencies. I gave him the best horse in the outfit, 
and, when twilight arrived, he decided, after 
patching up his head a little, to bring relief and 
meet us at a point 'northwest on the Platte River, 
about a day's march onward.* These were about 
the most definite directions any scout got in the 
trackless wastes of those days, and it showed the 
peculiar sixth sense or acimien possessed by ex- 
perienced officers, and why practical scouts, like 
Cody, in the wide terrestrial seas of the great 
plains, rarely ever missed connections. Cody, 
therefore, reached us safely, making a success- 



Digitized by 



Google 



FIGHT AT ELEPHANT ROCK 149 

ful ride of fifty miles during the night, and ar- 
riving at Fort Kearny at daylight. He had 
chased and fought Indians all day, been wounded, 
superintended the loading of supplies, and when, 
through his rare frontier instinct, he reached us, 
he had been almost constantly in the saddle for 
forty hours. Pretty strenuous work that I" 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXI 



BATTLE OF SUMMIT SPRINGS 




June 18, 1869, under Gren- 
eral Eugene A. Carr, saw us 
again hunting for the band 
of "dog soldiers,'' who were, 
like the Irishman's flea, here, 
there and at times every- 
where — disappearing and 
suddenly turning up and 
making things lively, besides 
acting with an audacity 
that was extremely aggra- 
vating, now and then wounding some of the 
guards, from which many casualties were the re- 
sult. They were so cunning that it seemed diffi- 
cult to get them into a comer where we could 
have a first-class scrap. Sometimes, on a quiet 
moonlight night, after not being visible for half 
a day, they would turn up, and bang! bang! it 
would come all around the camp, creating a scur- 
rying of the officers to their commands and of 

160 



TaU BuU. 



Digitized by 



Google 




w 






:^ 

00 

o 

H 
H 
< 

n 

H 

ea 
)j 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



BATTLE OF SUMMIT SPRINGS 151 

the men to defend the camp. Somethnes they; 
would endeavor to dive through a herd of horses, 
shaking robes and yelling. In the section of the 
country in which we were following them, the 
sand was soft and the animals and wagons sank 
into it several inches. 

We had with us my old friend, Major Frank 
North, the "White Chief of the Pawnees," with 
some of his Pawnee scouts, who rendered good 
service. Colonel Royal, who had been out with 
us, had been viciously attacked, about fifty of 
the warriors following him back almost into the 
main command. The trail continued up French- 
man's Fork, and water was so scarce that we had 
to dig in the sand to scoop some up. 

Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas were all ex- 
cited over the depredations of these renegades. 
They had murdered right and left, had captured 
several hundred mules and horses, and destroyed 
wagon trains, as we could tell by the trail of 
some shod animals. What intensified our desire 
to punish or capture them was the fact that they 
had some white captives — Mrs. Alderdice, whose 
husband and children they had killed, and Mrs. 
Weigel, whose husband and family had also been 
massacred, and these two women were known 
to be still alive and with them. In fact, they 
had almost arrested the settlement of the 
country, as the story of their deeds drove 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



162 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

back the pioneers. At last we got on their 
trail, and had almost daily skirmishes, and 
General Carr decided to use some stratagem 
to see if we could not get them in a tight place. 
He consulted with me, and, after a day of con- 
tinual skirmishing and a night attack, he ordered 
a retrograde movement, which created a good 
deal of discussion between the officers and men 
at the time. Apparently abandoning the pursuit, 
he retired as if going back to the fort; and in 
two or three days, as he surmised, the Indians 
were nowhere to be seen, having come to the con- 
clusion that we were disheartened and that they 
could with impunity take a little repose them- 
selves. This was exactly what our wily com- 
mander desired, as he intended to retrace his 
steps and catch them sleeping. So, being sure 
that there were no Indians in sight, he packed 
all the grub possible on the mules, burned the 
wagons and impedimenta, and immediately 
started to make forced marches in their direction. 
As I had surmised, they were heading for Sima- 
mit Springs, a few miles south of the Platte 
River, and among the sand-hills, which formed a 
beautiful little oasis, as it were, for a camp- 
ground. Striking their trail by judging from 
their daily camp-fires, we made in one day the 
same distance that they made in three; but when 
near the Springs, as we saw the trail getting 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



BATTLE OF SUMMIT SPRINGS 163 

fresher, we covered four of their day's joumey- 
mgs, with all their impedimenta and village out- 
fit, in one day, and landed at the opportune mo- 
ment ready for business, while the enemy had 
been thrown off their guard and gave us an open- 
ing that resulted so gloriously that this battle is 
recognized as having been one of the most ef- 
fective in the early breaking of the power of the 
red man on the plains. Three legislatures passed 
resolutions of thanks, and Nebraska presented a 
sword to General Carr. On this occasion, I had 
the distinction of adding another chief's war- 
bonnet to my trophies, and I consider it proper 
that the reader shall have a short discussion of 
the action in my gallant commander's own words, 
as taken from his writing, Carres Campaigns: 

"On Sunday, July 11, 1869, I was thinking 
of going to the river to water my horses, when 
'Buffalo Bill' came back and said: *I have seen 
the village. It is over a ridge, away from the 
river valley.' We had not seen the trail for some 
time. They had followed an old custom of trail- 
ing along the ridge where we had dismounted to 
cross it, and going over the high ground, so that 
any one following them would be visible from 
camp. Cody's idea was to get around, be- 
yond, and between them and the river. He 
changed horses quickly and went on, and I took 



Digitized by 



Google 



164 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

to the gallop for several miles through the deep 
sand and got to the top of a sand-hill or mound. 
Some Pawnees, away off to the left on the bluff, 
beckoned me, and I went. The Pawnees pointed 
over the ridge and said: *Hoss, boss.' I saw 
what looked like a band of ponies, but said : *No, 
buffalo.' They said : *No, no ; boss, boss.' They 
took my glasses and looked and said: *Yes, 
boss.' I looked, and, sure enough, they were 
ponies grazing, and the camp, no doubt, was be- 
low. I permitted the Pawnees, as was their cus- 
tom, to strip and take off their saddles and all 
their uniforms, but to keep on their drawers, so 
as to be recognized as friendly. I had sent word 
to Colonel Royal, and he sent up Major Walk- 
er's company and came on with the rest. I 
placed the Pawnees on the left and two compa- 
nies of the Fifth Cavalry in the center, and one 
of Captain Price's on the right. I told Major 
Eugene Crittenden to take command of the cen- 
ter, and I would take the reserve and send up re- 
enforcements as required. 

"When we all got started, I told the bugler 
behind me to sound *the charge.' He put his 
trumpet to his mouth, but no sound came out. 
I asked him why he did not sound the charge, 
and he said, *I — I disremember it, sir'; but it 
came to him directly, and he sounded it while all 
were going at full speed ; and we were among the 



Digitized by 



Google 



BATTLE OF SUMMIT SPRINGS 165 

enemy before they had any idea that we were 
withm a thousand miles. Then I heard the rat- 
tling of rifles on the right and left, plainly dis- 
tinguishing the basso sound of 'Buffalo Bill's' 
trusty rifle, old Xucretia Borgia.' Then oc- 
curred a most intense half hour, redolent with 
the excitement of battle — ^the conflict can never 
be properly described by the participants, and 
I can only say that the surprise was a grand suc- 
cess, while the charge was brilliant. 

" 'Buffalo Bill' got pretty well around the vil- 
lage when he went in on Captain Price's right. 
As he advanced, he saw a chief on a horse char- 
ging about and haranguing his men. He and his 
party laid for him, and, as he came nearer, 'Buf- 
falo Bill' shot him off his horse and got the ani- 
mal. This was the celebrated race-horse, 'Tall 
Bull,' which he, Cody, rode for a long time, and 
with it won many exciting races. When he came 
into camp, Mrs. Tall Bull said that it was her 
husband's horse, leaving no doubt about the fact 
that 'Buffalo Bill' had killed the chief. 

'*0n this occasion, the Indians had two white 
captives, Mrs. Alderdice, of Missouri, whom they 
killed during the fighi^and Mrs. Weigel, of Kan- 
sas, who had been shot in the back with a pistol 
bullet, which broke a rib, but waa deflected, and 
passed around and lodged below her left breast. 
Fifteen hundred dollars in gold, silver and green- 



Digitized by 



Google 



156 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

backs, which was gathered in the camps, was 
given her, and she went back, remarried and 
*proved up' her claim. Next morning, we dug a 
grave on a hill above the village and buried Mrs. 
Alderdice, the surgeon reading the service. 

"After the fight, I entertained the chiefs wife 
and family at tea and learned that the chief was 
named Tonka Haska, *Tall Bull/ He had three 
wives, but only the middle one was with him, a 
fine-looking squaw, the daughter of a chief, with 
her little girl of eight years. When they were 
surprised, he tried to get away with them, but he 
looked back and saw the destruction of his band, 
which was his pride, and said: *My heart is bad; 
I cannot endure this. I will turn back and get 
killed. You escape, and treat the white woman 
well, and she will intercede for you when peace 
comes.* He turned back, firing as he charged, 
and by Cody's unerring rifle she saw him fall. 

"I detailed a board of oflScers to count the dead 
Indians, and, notwithstanding that it is their cus- 
tom to carry away the wounded and to hide or 
bury the dead, we found sixty-ei^t dead bodies 
on the field." 

Thus ended a long and wearisome pursuit, the 
ending being a thrilling affair to the soul of a 
soldier — an ample recompense for days and 
nights of hardship and toil, that can only be com- 



Digitized by 



Google 



BATTLE OF SUMMIT SPRINGS 157 

prehended by those who participated in the in- 
describable thrill of victory. 

Here is a newspaper account of this affair, 
from the New York Herald, of July 20, 1869: 



"gENEEAL cake's VICTOEY — THE INDIANS PUN- 
ISHED SEVERELY 



"St, Louis, July 19, 1869. 
"Omaha despatches state that General Augur 
returned from Fort Sedgwick this morning. 
General Carr's victory is more complete than at 
first reported. Over 400 horses and mules were 
captured, with a large quantity of powder, and 
nearly five tons of dried buffalo meat. Among 
the killed was the noted chief, Standing (Tall) 
Bull, killed by Cody, chief of scouts. About 
$1,500 was found in camp, which was given to 
Mrs. Weigel,a white woman who was recaptured. 
This was the same body of Indians that last 
year had fought General Forsyth and had re- 
cently conunitted depredations in Kansas." 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXII 

.WINGING TWO AT A TIME — CAPTUEING THE HERD 
AND THE CONGBESSIONAL MEDAL 




As CHIEF of scouts Under 
Greneral Phil Sheridan, I 
and the men were resting at 
Fort McPherson after a haz- 
ardous expedition and a long 
and successful chase. The 
rest was well deserved; offi- 
cers and men were congratu- 
lated, and I was honorably 
mentioned for good con- 
duct in the last expedition. 
It was a quiet June evening, and we were en- 
joying the refreshing breezes. A detail had left 
the fort to water the Government herd of horses 
and mules in the nearby Platte River, when shots 
were heard. Every one was on his feet in a mo- 
ment, for it was learned that a party of Sioux 
Indians had dashed from the cottonwood trees, 
shooting, shouting and waving blankets^ and 

158 



Gf€D€nd Emeffy. 



Digitized by 



Google 



WINGING TWO AT A TIME 150 

had stampeded a herd of ahout four hundred ani- 
mals. The Indians had killed two of the herd- 
ers and wounded another. Some of the herd ran 
for the corral, where they were accustomed to 
go for the night, but the Indians got away with 
about two hundred and started for the bluffs 
south of the fort. All was excitement, but, as 
was my custom, I had my war-horse, "Old Buck- 
skin Joe," near at hand, and was mounted in time 
to make a reconnoissance and note the direction 
in which the Indians had disappeared with the 
Government stock. General Wm. H. Emery 
(father of Admiral Emery, now with Evans' 
fleet) , who was in command, had had his bugler 
sound "boots and saddles," and by the time I re- 
turned for instructions five troops of cavalry 
were busy saddling up, getting their arms, am- 
munition, and some supplies. One company, "I," 
Fifth United States Cavalry, were the first 
troops saddled and ready for the chase. Their 
officer, a young lieutenant by the name of Earl 
D. Thomas, now Brigadier-General Thomas 
and in conmiand of the Department of Colo- 
rado, was just out from West Point, full 
of ambition, and delighted to be in conmiand in 
the absence of his superiors. General Emery and 
myself agreed on the necessity of quick action, 
and to the delight of young Thomas he was or- 
dered with his troop to follow me, while the other 



Digitized by 



Google 



160 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

troops, as soon as ready, would follow, more com- 
pletely equipped, and support us and try to re- 
captiu*e the animals. By this time the Indians, 
with such of the herd as did not escape them, 
were at least five miles away in the hills. 

"Fours right! Trot I Gallop f' And we 
dashed off. We followed at a gallop imtil dark, 
but did not get a sight of the Indians, and the 
tracks showed that they were whooping it up on 
the run. A halt was called to give the puffing 
horses a rest, and Thomas consulted me. His 
orders were to follow and recaptiu*e the animals. 
He was worried, as the men had no supper, no 
rations and no water, while the Indians had taken 
to the sand-hills, where it was thirty miles to 
water. I told Thomas I could follow the trail 
at night if necessary, and awaited his answer. "I 
will follow you, Mr. Cody, as I was told to do 
so, and I will go wherever you propose." After 
a short rest, "Mount and forward I" was the or- 
der, and the chase was continued. During the 
night, the Indians repeatedly doubled on their 
trail. They would drive the herd in a circle and 
zig-zag and return, and use every means known 
to a crafty Indian to throw any one who might 
be following off the scent. Several times during 
the night it took some time to get the trail 
straightened out, without useless exhaustion to 
the main body. While I was accomplishing this, 



Digitized by 



Google 



WINGING TWO AT A TIME 161 

the troops would get some little rest; although 
the Indians in doubling their tracks delayed 
somewhat, it retarded us more and was very pro- 
voking. We did not reach the head of Medicine 
Creek, where we got water for men and horses, 
until eleven o'clock the next day. As the horses 
were drinking and nibbling a few mouthfuls of 
grass, and the men were snatching a few min- 
utes' sleep, we consulted on the situation. The 
trail showed that the Indians were headed south- 
west, in the direction of Red Willow Springs. 
Knowing that there was no water between Medi- 
cine Creek and the Red Willow, I was sure that 
the Indians would make a stop there, as it was 
many miles from there to the next water. De- 
ciding that it was best to keep continuously on 
the job, and that the Indians must make some 
stop to rest and eat, we could overlap them. 
When the horses were rested, and as we had noth- 
ing on hand to eat to delay us, and had had 
nothing since dinner the day before, our best pos- 
sibility for a meal was to overtake the Indians, 
surprise them, whip them, and capture what dried 
meat they had. The young lieutenant was full of 
grit, and the men of the Fifth Cavalry were sol- 
diers to the core and had followed me through 
these dry sand-hills on many a scout, and, though 
it was a hard proposition, none demurred. As 
we left the green grass that bordered the creek. 



Digitized by 



Google 



162 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

I listened for a complaint, but there was not a 
word. Grim, silent, hmigry, but like sleuth- 
hounds, they were hot for the trail, and were 
ready to starve, to thirst, if the prospects of a 
fight were good. American soldiers of the In- 
dian-fighter type were proud to be in Sheridan's 
cavalry. 

After leaving the creek, the Indians began 
their old tricks in trying to hide their trail by 
devices well known to me, but I paid no atten- 
tion to this, knowing what must be their next 
stopping-place, and I was as familiar with that 
part of the coimtry as they were. Straight on 
we kept to the springs, except that occasionally 
we went out of the direct line to keep in low 
places between the sand-hills so as not to be 
seen. At nine o'clock that night we halted four 
miles from the springs. Advising Thomas to 
allow the men to imsaddle and imbridle, letting 
each second man hold two horses by their halters, 
and so let them feed on the grass, by changing 
the men every two hours they could get some 
sleep. I disguised myself as an Indian and 
started off to locate the hostiles and be back in 
time so as to attack them at daylight. No fires 
were to be lighted, and all were to be silent until 
my return. Before I left, half of the tired men 
of the little band were slumbering. One hour 
later^ I had seen the camp, just as I expected^ in 



Digitized by 



Google 



WINGING TWO AT A TIME 168 

fancied repose, believing that we could not be 
within a day's march of them. 

The Indians' ponies and oiu* stolen herd were 
corraled, some grazing and some sleeping, with 
Indian sentinels on the lookout. I came near 
nmning into an Indian scout, who was sitting 
on a sand-hill peering into the night to signal the 
approaching danger; hut as I was afoot and 
crawling through the thick himch-grass,I escaped 
notice. Crawling back imtil I could hoof it on 
the run, I foimd the boys as I had left them. 
Quietly they were called to saddle up, instruc- 
tions were given, men were detailed to pay par- 
ticular attention to recapturing and roimding up 
the herd, and others were instructed as to the at- 
tack on the camp. I estimated the Indians to 
number about thirty, and there were forty-two of 
us. Ten were to creep up to the sleeping In- 
dians on foot and be ready to work in open order. 
Twenty, besides the Lieutenant and myself, were 
to charge on horseback. The rest were to bring 
up the remaining horses, attack the herders, and 
round-up the entire herd. We attacked at break 
of day, and the whole scheme worked well. The 
tired lot were siu-prised when awakened to meet 
their foes. Nine of them were sent to sleep for- 
ever. Many bad kept their war-horses near them, 
which hastily mounting they escaped with sev- 
eral picked horaes from our band. Among them 



Digitized by 



Google 



164 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

was one of my favorite war-horses, "Powder 
Face,'* which one of them, who prohahly knew 
him, had appropriated for his own use. As soon 
as the fight was over, and I saw that we had cap- 
tured some of their herd as well as our own, I 
saw that "Powder Face" was not with them, hut 
I recognized him half a mUe away, his rider head- 
ing for the hills. This made me hot, and, know- 
ing that the Indians would think others were fol- 
lowing me, I dashed after them. "Old Buckskin 
Joe*' soon hegan to gain, and I got near enough 
for a shot. My first shot killed the horse that an 
Indian was riding alongside of "Powder Face,'* 
and his rider was soon up behind in the usual 
manner they try to save a warrior, riding back- 
ward, shooting at me with his revolver. "Pow- 
der Face" was as swift as "Joe." Being in the 
rough sand-hills and having a double weight to 
carry, "Joe" in a few minutes got me near enough 
for a good shot. I kept closing on them, as I 
did not want to hit my old friend "Powder Face." 
When I thought it sure, as they were riding up 
over a mound, I fired. The Indians fell, the one 
bullet going through both; and when "Powder 
Face" heard my voice he ran toward me whinny- 
ing, and with two of the boys who had been or- 
dered to follow close behind me by the Lieuten- 
ant, we returned to the camp in high glee. They 
f oimd a lot of dried buflfalo and deer meat and 



Digitized by 



Google 



WINGING TWO AT A TIME 165 

some fresh antelope and deer, with accompany- 
ing pepper and salt, and copious drafts of spring 
water, so a few minutes' rejoicing was had. A 
detail was quickly made up to bury the dead, 
and as we had but three slightly woimded, and 
five horses knocked out, the enthusiasm can hard- 
ly be described. Wishing Lieutenant Thomas 
and his brave boys to get their full share of glory, 
and, knowing the coimtry well, I took more direct 
routes back to the fort. Sending a half-breed 
scout to inform the main supporting body, that 
we knew would be following us, of the recapture 
of the herd, we reached the fort the next evening 
much fatigued, but very joyful. 

The Lieutenant and his men were compliment- 
ed by special order. I, myself, received "men- 
tion," and a short while after I was made the 
recipient of a "Congressional medal of honor." 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXIII 



HUNTING, history's GRANDEST CHASE — ^THE 
GRAND DUKE ALEXIs' HUNT 

General Phil Sheridan, General Custer and 

Siouoo Indians, under the Auspices of the 

United States Government. 

Speaking of General Cus- 
ter reminds me of an inter- 
national episode resulting 
from the friendship exhibited 
by Russia to the Govern- 
ment of the United States 
during the Civil War — ^the 
courtesies shown to the 
yoimg Grand Duke Alexis. 
Among the events arranged in the programme 
was his visit to the Far West, to hunt for big 
game. The whole aflfair was under the direction 
of General Phil Sheridan; and Custer, from his 
youth, distinction and suitability, was particular- 
ly selected to chaperon and have charge of the 
Grand Duke, and at the same time show him the 

166 




Indians Hunting 
Buffaloes. 



Digitized by 



Google 




COSTUME WORN BY 



Digitized by V^jjC 

"BUFFALO BILL" AT THE TIME OF THE GREAT HUNT FOR 
THE GRAND DUKE ALEXIS. 



Digitized by 



Google 



GRAND DUKE ALEXIS' HUNT 167 

horsemanship and admirable qualities of the 
American army officer. I had been ordered by 
General Sheridan to take charge of the matter 
and have everything in readiness for the Grand 
Duke and a large number of noblemen and offi- 
cers of his staff. I had located a camp sixty 
miles from North Platte, on the Red Willow, 
in the heart of the buffalo coimtry. Lieu- 
tenant E. M. Hayes, now Brigadier-General, re- 
tired, a dashing soldier, more familiarly known 
as General "Jack" Hayes, was assigned the duty 
of arranging the material and equipping the 
camp. There was no limit to the efforts to pro- 
vide every luxury and comfort that lavish ex- 
pense could procure. Provisions, wines, etc., of 
the finest had been freighted in from Chicago, 
tents for the royal guests were beautifully fur- 
nished with carpets, lugs, robes, and with a stove 
in each tent. It certainly was a most beautiful 
camp, named Camp Alexis, and Lieutenant 
Hayes must have been inspired by some of the 
Oriental tales of kingly camps in days of old, and 
tried to "go it one better." Rimners had been 
sent out and conferences had been held arranging 
for an assiu'ed peace meeting with Spotted Tail 
and other powerful chiefs to attend and give zest 
to the sport. I quote from the despatches of the 
day to the press (from the New York Herald)^ 
relative to the same: 



Digitized by 



Google 



168 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

"Some forty-odd superior wall tents were 
properly equipped for the guests alone. The 
arrangements of the camp, in brief, were com- 
plete, not to say luxurious, when the remote and 
wild section of the country is considered. Be- 
sides the cavalry escort, there were two moimted 
companies to guard safely the Imperial tourists 
and sportsmen from the wrath and revenge of 
the nvmierous 'dog soldiers,' Indians under 
Chief Whistler. The chances are, however, that 
the reds will imite in rendering the Duke's visit 
one of pleasure, rather than one of fear or harm. 
Sheridan and 'Buflfalo Bill' have persuaded 
them to such a course, and, furthermore, to pro- 
cure their good behavior, the General has brought 
out thirty wagon-loads of provisions, which he 
has promised to distribute impartially among the 
red men at the end of the himt, if they restrain 
themselves from any violence. These presents 
assure such result. This perhaps may be con- 
sidered a questionable way to secure a foreign 
guest from scalping or murder in the United 
States; but when it is known that the Indians 
are armed and outnumber the soldiers ten to 
one, it will be admitted that Sheridan's Hickle 
me and I will tickle you' policy is the only safe 
one to pursue. From fifteen hundred to two 
thousand Indians are expected." 



Digitized by 



Google 



GRAND DUKE ALEXIS' HUNT 169 

The arrival in North Platte is thus described 
in despatches of January 3, 1872: 

"The Duke alighted from the train, the natives 
of the little station formed in line along the plat- 
form, and, almost involimtarily, simultaneously 
removed their hats, in honor of the distinguished 
visitor. 'Little PhiF was master of ceremonies, 
and he was bound that not a moment should be 
lost in starting for the camp, sixty miles distant. 
He arranged with 'BuflFalo Bill' to be on hand 
and act as guide, and the renowned scout was 
promptly on time and in all his element. He 
was seated on a spanking charger, and, with his 
long hair and spangled bucksldn suit, appeared 
as the feared and beloved by all for miles aroimd. 

"White men and barbarous Indians are alike 
moved by his presence, none of them daring to 
do aught, in word or deed, contrary to his rules 
of law and civilization. After the ducal party had 
alighted. General Sheridan beckoned the famous 
scout to approach. He advanced carelessly, yet 
respectfully. * Your Highness,' said the General, 
'this is Mr. Cody, otherwise and universally 
known as "Buffalo BiU.'' Bill, this is the Grand 
Duke.' 

" 'I am glad to see you,' said the hero of the 
plains. 'You have come out here, so the General 
tells me, to shoot some buffalo?' 



Digitized by 



Google 



170 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

" *Yes/ answered Alexis; *and I hope to have 
a good, fine time. I heard of you before, and I 
am glad to meet you here/ 

" 'Thank you, thank you,' said Bill, with a 
smile as honest as that of a maiden. 'If the 
weather holds good, we*ll have one of the finest 
hunts that there ever was on the continent.' 

" 'Buffalo Bill' is the famous Western scout 
employed by Sheridan for Indian service, and 
one who is efficient and reliable. Bill is about 
thirty years of age, is about six feet in height, 
and, with other proportions, he has a pleasing 
face and fine address, and would have been 
prominent in other walks of life had not circvmi- 
stances made him famous as a Western hunter. 

"The tales that are told of 'Buflfalo Bill's' hunt- 
ing experiences since he was old enough to ride 
a horse — for Bill was bom and brought up on 
the plains — are truly wonderful to hear, related 
as they are around our blazing campfires and in 
the presence of all of the paraphernalia of fron- 
tier life upon the plains. Bill was dressed in a 
buckskin suit of trimmed fur, and wore a black 
slouch hat, his long hair hanging in ringlets down 
his shoulders. 

"As he dashed from the railroad station, he 
was closely followed by the Grand Duke in an 
open Concord wagon, drawn by four powerful 
horses, which carried the distinguished represen- 



Digitized by 



Google 



GRAND DUKE ALEXIS' HUNT 171 

tatives of two powerful nations, escorted by the 
cavalry, at a fearful rate of speed over the rugged 
prairie." 

Of course there was a glorious time in camp, 
in fact, "high jinks," as far as the natural mili- 
tary discipline, the dignified and courteous quali- 
ties and manners governing both guests and hosts 
permitted. After a day of rest following the 
sixty-mile ride, and a night of social exchanges, 
my scouts and Indian allies reported the presence 
of a herd of buffalo. We gave a first run in 
which General Custer, myself, and many officers 
gave an exhibition to our guests of the manner 
and method of hunting buffalo, showing, and ex- 
plaining also, the necessity of trained horses used 
to the job, and the method of shooting, either 
through the loins or imder the heart. The Grand 
Duke eventually mounted probably the best 
buffalo-hunting horse that ever lived, "Buckskin 
Joe," and soon adapted himself to the sport. 
General Custer, especially, gave a magnificent 
exhibition of skill, dash and expertness. He and 
myself accompanied the Grand Duke, and the 
latter acquitted himself splendidly. We cut out, 
eventually, two or three of the finest homed buf- 
falo, colossal in size, which he brought down. The 
magnificent heads I secured, sent them by ex- 
press to Chicago to the taxidermist^ and they now 



Digitized by 



Google 



172 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

ornament the royal castles in St. Petersburg. 
During the hunt, elk, antelope, deer and coyote 
heads were treated in the same way and sent 
home as trophies. Photographs were taken of 
the camp and some of the scenes, and it is to 
be regretted that photography had not been suffi- 
ciently perfected then to get what would be a 
sensational connection of the men, the horses, the 
buffalo, and the gims in action. But the grand 
battue, or round-up, was reserved for the last, 
which was an Indian hunt for buffalo. Camp 
scenes and Indian war-dances, pow-wows and 
feasts, proved of interest to the royal guests, who 
expressed delight at all they saw. General Cus- 
ter gave some practical military drills and evolu- 
tions as accompanying exhibits, and, in the social 
education, they received practical instructions as 
well in the game of poker. But of the Indian 
round-up of buffalo, I might say that such a 
pictiu'esque assemblage; such natural conditions, 
when nature furnished in its primitiveness the 
striking adjunct of an illimitable hunting-ground 
and innvmierable varieties of big game; magnifi- 
cent savage allies, in all the rainbow brilliancy 
of their native garb and fantastic adornment, 
mingled with the flower of the veteran cavalry of 
"Uncle Sam" commanded by General Phil Sheri- 
dan, General E. O. C. Ord, commander of the De- 
partment of the Platte, with the gallant Custer, 



Digitized by 



Google 



GRAND DUKE ALEXIS' HUNT 178 

Colonel Mike Sheridan, the Forsyths, Assistant 
Surgeon M. V. Ash, Major Sweitzer, Colonel 
Palmer and Lieutenant Hayes, a brilliant array 
of famed officers, and the gorgeously accoutred 
foreign officials, admirals and generals, and a de- 
tachment of the flower of our army, made a 
pageant so spirited as to lingelr in memory as a 
scene in every respect unique beyond compare 
up to date, and one well-nigh impossible in the 
future to duplicate. I had located an immense 
herd of buffalo, and all arrangements were com- 
plete, "the blanket was waved three times," and 
off the outfit started at daylight. The Indians 
were painted in a variety of colors, had discarded 
all their artistic adornments, different-colored or- 
naments, jewelry, feathers and other apparel, 
and looked like real chUdren of nature, almost 
in Adam's costume. Only a breech-clout aroimd 
their loins, moccasins on their feet, no saddle, no 
bridle, the ponies with only a thin leather hacka- 
more between their teeth. Some with only light 
bow and arrows, others with their rifle, revolver, 
ammunition; no imnecessary weight — so that 
they could ride like lightning. They even spared 
their horses, and walked most of the time, but 
with such speed that it kept every one "hopping'* 
to go the pace. This lick kept up imtil the herd 
was in sight. A council was held and the calumet 
was passed around, and everything was ready. 



Digitized by 



Google 



174 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

while every Indian mounted his horse, which 
seemed more excited than his rider. About two 
hundred were in the front line, a hundred and 
fifty in the second line, and a hundred composed 
the rear. The chiefs were in the front, snapping 
their whips in the air and holding the riders to- 
gether, with the ponies foaming, prancing, and 
stamping their feet, impatient as their masters, 
eadi seeming to form one soul and one body — 
centaurs — ^all waiting for the signal, all with one 
feeling, one desire, to gain as many laurels as 
possible when the chief suddenly gave the signal 
to go. Thunder and lightning! What a tor- 
nado! What a storm of horsemen, as, with im- 
petuosity, these nomads dashed on their prey! 
With the roar of Niagara, the speed of a cyclone, 
the swiftness of an avalanche, tibese strange fig- 
ures threw themselves in a mad, wild rush on 
their fieeing victims, and soon in the midst of the 
dust-cloud one could only see an indescribable 
mix-up of flying arrows, accompanied with rifle 
shots, galloping horses, f allingbuff aloes, andfleet- 
riding Indians on their wild ponies. It was a 
confusion in one sense and regulated action in 
another — forming almost a delirium of delight 
to the huntsmen. Some went fljdng from one end 
of the prairie to the other after stragglers, while 
the main guard formed in such a manner as to 
make the buffalo circle. The signal to halt was 



Digitized by 



Google 



GRAND DUKE ALEXIS' HUNT 175 

given, and as the dust-cloud rose, little by little, 
like a curtain in the theater, the horses were seen 
at a standstill and the prairie was strewn with the 
buffaloes that fell. Calm and practical fellows 
were these Indians. Even the horses began 
quietly pasturing on the grasses, while the hunt- 
ers proceeded to pull off the hide and cut out 
the tongues and favorite pieces of their native 
cattle, and preparing the meat in strips for pres- 
ervation. 

During the progress of the hunt the Grand 
Duke expressed a desire to have a test made as 
to the use of the bow and arrow of the Indians. 
"Two Lance," with a reputation as a buffalo- 
hunting chief, was selected for the purpose. 
While riding at full speed he shot an arrow from 
his bow which pierced a buffalo clean through 
from side to side. The Grand Duke considered 
the feat so remarkable that he took the arrow 
home with him as a memento of the occasion. 

The commissary wagons assisted in bringing 
fresh meat to camp, and great festivities marked 
the closing of this grand hunt. Guests and hosts 
had tasted of one of the most glorious feasts that 
ever true Nimrods attended. Sheridan was de- 
lighted, everybody was congratulated and the pic- 
ture still lingers in my mind with young General 
Custer predominating the grand assemblage. He 
Tf A9 the life and spirit, one might say, of the oc* 



Digitized by 



Google 



176 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

casion, and to me it is sad to think of another 
picture that depends ahnost alone on imagination 
and of which "more anon" — ^that of Custer's last 
battle. 




Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXIV 

SIOUX AND CHEYENNE CAMPAIGN OF 1876 AND 

CAUSE — GENERAL EENO'S CONNECTION 

WITH THE LITTLE BIG HOEN 

Any series of stories of In- 
dian war would be incom- 
plete without giving an ac- 
count of the campaign of 
1876 against the Northern 
Sioux and their allies from 
the South, the Sioux and 
Cheyennes, an affair known 
as the Custer campaign. The 
catastrophe thatoverwhelmed 
the gallant General Custer and his brave com- 
mand was an episode that will live forever 
in Indian history. In the summer of 1874, Gen- 
eral Sheridan sent two expeditions into what was 
knowQi as the Northern Country, He sent Gen- 
eral Custer with the Seventh Cavalry from Fort 
Abraham Lincoln to scout in the north and north- 
west of the Black Hills, and to return through 




177 



Digitized by 



Google 



178 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

the Black Hills back to his post. At the same 
time, he sent Colonel Anson Mills from the De- 
partment of the Platte, leaving the Union Pacific 
Railroad at Rawlins, Wye, on an expedition to 
scout the Sweet Water comitry, the Big Horn 
Basin and Big Horn Mountain country, and to 
return by way of the Powder River country, back 
to his department. I was sent to guide Colonel 
Anson Mills' expedition. The two commands, 
one under Custer and one under Mills, came 
within communicating distance in Eastern Wy- 
oming, on the Powder River, the two command- 
ing officers and scouts meeting and holding a 
consultation. This country was then compara- 
tively unknown, except to the scouts, hunters and 
trappers. 

This may appear singular to a younger 
generation, but the Government had just an- 
nounced the segregation of what is known as the 
Yellowstone National Park, whose wonders were 
just becoming to be known, the whole coimtry 
being, as it were, a terra incognito and looked 
upon by the Indians of all the tribes of the Sioux 
nation as their most sacred possession — ^the 
physical phenomena, the hot springs, spouting 
geysers, weird canyons and warm, sulphurous 
springs, whose medical virtues and curative pow- 
ers they knew and made use of; in fact, they al- 
most looked upon it as the home of Manitou, their 



Digitized by 



Google 



CAMPAIGN OF 1876 170 

Grod. Colonel Mills marched from Rawlins to 
Independence Rock, on the Sweetwater River, 
where he made a supply camp and left his 
wagons. Grcneral Custer continued on through 
the Black Hills, exploring it in every hole and 
comer, and then returned to Fort Abraham Lin- 
coln. This meeting of the two commanders was 
the last time I ever saw the General. It was on 
Custer's expedition through the Black Hills that 
the old-timers' assertions of its wealth in gold 
were confirmed and practically demonstrated. 
Therefore, although the Government's intention 
was to keep out invaders of this section (many of 
the first being arrested by the military) , the ef- 
forts were a failure, for the rush became so great 
as to render it impracticable to arrest it, as the 
white man's desire was to add this wealth to his 
otiier possessions. This brought about irritation 
on the part of the Indians. During '75 and '76, 
the whole Dakota nation, the most powerful In- 
dians and their allies, listened to the harangues of 
Sitting Bull and other medicine men to prepare 
to go on the war-path, to gather their best horses, 
and secure all the ammunition and long-range 
rifles they could. This was rendered possible by 
the profitable trade in furs and money to the 
Canadian-French traders on the north. This was 
a factor in the fight on the Little Big Horn, as 
man^ of tiieir rifles outranged the arm^ carbine. 



Digitized by 



Google 



180 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

Greneral Sheridan, in view of the situation and 
the gathering of warriors in the northwest, com- 
menced massing the United States troops in the 
different departments adjacent. General Alfred 
Terry, who was in conmiand of the Department 
of Dakota and the station at Fort Snelling, was 
to send the troops in his department to Fort 
Abraham Lincoln, to take the field from there 
under the command of General George A. Cus- 
ter, General John Gibbon, who was in conmiand 
of the Department of Montana, was to take 
command of the troops in his department, move 
down the Yellowstone and form a junction with 
them. General George A. Crook, in command 
of the Department of the Platte, was ordered to 
take the troops from his department and proceed 
north by the way of Fort Laramie, Fort Fetter- 
man, old Fort Reno, old Fort Phil Kearny. This 
latter conmiand was the one I accompanied. It 
might be mentioned here that, during the prep- 
arations, certain scandals in the construction de- 
partment of the Government, both for army and 
Indian supplies, had attracted Congressional at- 
tention and national interest, threatening to be- 
smirch personages closely connected with the 
powers existing. The investigation coming on, 
Custer was ordered to Washington to give testi- 
mony. This testimony adhered so strictly to the 
truth that it brought him into disfavor, and when 



Digitized by 



Google 




Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



CAMPAIGN OF 1876 181 

he returned to his post he found that the com- 
mand of the main expedition was taken from him, 
and that he was assigned to his own regiment 
simply; while General Terry was ordered to take 
supreme command. To a soldier with his record, 
to a man of his sensitiveness, this hiuniliation was 
deeply felt, and, no doubt, was one of the many 
causes that warped his judgment at a time when 
it was most needed. General Terry showed his 
sympathy and confidence in him after the Indian 
trail was discovered, when he ordered him to take 
his regiment, with ten days* rations, ammunition, 
and private scouts, along with Charlie Reynolds, 
Bloody Knife and others, and take the trail and 
follow it. He struck the trail and followed it 
at a rapid pace on the 28d and 24th of July. At 
this point, the trail left the Rosebud and headed 
toward the Little Big Horn. As the march had 
been very rapid, the horses were tired, and camp 
was made; while preparations to start by two 
o'clock in the morning to cross the divide which 
separated the two streams was determined on. 
The men cooked their suppers, cleaned their 
guns, and had issued to them more ammunition 
from the pack-train which he had with him, all 
feeling that on the morrow the gallant old Sev- 
enth Cavalry would be hand-to-hand with their 
old enemy. Just about this time, the guidon 
which was standing in front of the General's tent 



Digitized by 



Google 



182 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

blew down, and instead of falling toward the 
enemy, it fell from the enemy. The soldier, like 
the sailor, being more or less superstitions, called 
that a bad omen, and there was many a chat 
around the camp-fire that evening in regard to 
the falling of the guidon. And many a man who 
never saw the setting of the next sun rightfully 
predicted that he was going into his last fight, 
which, alas, proved all too true. 

At two o'clock the regiment was again on the 
move, with the scouts ahead, and by daylight they 
had crossed the ridge. The conmiand was keep- 
ing in the ravine, or canyons, out of sight, and 
moving as quietly as possible. The scouts in ad- 
vance came back and reported to Grcneral Cus- 
ter that they had seen tepees, or Indian lodges, 
which was true; but, as it afterward turned out, 
the tepees which the scouts had seen were three or 
four tepees that had been put up for smallpox 
patients away from the main Indian village. 

General Custer divided his command into three 
parts, taking five companies himself, Major Reno 
with five companies, and Colonel Benteen with 
two companies, to bring up the rear with the 
pack-train. Major Reno was ordered to march 
straight on to the Little Big Horn, while Cus- 
ter would move obliquely off to the right, making 
a detour of some seven or eight miles, and strik- 
ing the Little Big Horn at what he supposed 



Digitized by 



Google 



CAMPAIGN OF 1876 188 

would be the lower end of the Indian village; 
while Reno was to strike it from the upper end. 
Custer was to work up the river and Reno down, 
while Reno was to keep on coming down the 
river imtil he joined with Custer; and Benteen 
was to follow up with the pack-train. 

As near as we know, Reno struck the Indians 
a little before Custer did, and, of course, he, as 
well as Custer, was surprised at the immense size 
of the village. There were ten times more In- 
dians in this viUage than was indicated by the 
Indian trail which they had been following up the 
Rosebud. It is a fact that the Indians whom they 
were following had just at this point and at this 
time joined the main band of Indians in camp on 
the Little Big Horn. The principal chiefs among 
the Indians, of course, were Sitting BuU, Gall, 
Crazy Horse, Rain-in-the-Face, Little Big Man, 
Grass, and many others. 

At first, the Indians were taken completely by 
surprise, for they were so numerous that they had 
failed to keep scouts out at the usual distance, 
and Reno's attack was the first that they saw of 
the soldiers. Reno, instead of charging, held 
back when he saw the immense numbers in front 
— ^his heart, indeed, failed him; and abandoning 
audacity, which is the true motto of the cavalry- 
man, though he failed to recognize it at this time, 
he dismounted to fight on foot. In his first 



Digitized by 



Google 



184 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

charge he was repulsed, and, as near as I have 
been able to learn, it was only a weak one, not 
on account of his officers or men, but it was the 
lack of faith and confidence in himself that took 
away the vim and dash that the charge should 
have had. 

Reno, in looking over the situation, preferred 
defense in preference to attack, and instead of 
hurling these three hundred eager fighting men 
at the heart of the foe, winning by dash and dis- 
cipline against odds, he hesitated, lingered, and 
delayed. He recrossed the Little Big Horn and 
took up a position on a hill, and he dilly-dallied 
around there until the Indians, taking courage 
at his apparent weakness, made the fight on him 
all the fiercer, and most of the men that he lost 
were lost while crossing the Little Big Horn in 
retreat, so as to get into the bluffs on the east 
side. 

Among the killed was Lieutenant Mcintosh, 
who was killed while trying to rally his men just 
as they left the timber; Dr. De Wolf, who, in 
desperation, stopped his horse and kept firing 
imtil shot dead; and Lieutenant Hodson, whose 
horse was shot and in falling broke Hodson's leg, 
notwithstanding the efforts of Sergeant Criswell, 
who bravely stood by him, endeavoring to pull 
him on to his own horse, when a second bullet 
struck him in the head, killing him instantly. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CAMPAIGN OF 1876 185 

Three officers were killed, besides twenty-nine 
men and scouts, while seven men were badly 
wounded, including Lieutenant De Rudio, and 
fifteen men were missing, Reno, although hav- 
ing a good Civil War record, through his inde- 
cision in the emergency on this occasion seemed 
to have completely lost soldierly intelligence. 
The Indians, as was afterwards learned, were 
completely taken by surprise, and the great war- 
chief. Gall, personally directed the attack on 
Reno and was making preparations to surround 
him on the hill, evidently imaware of Custer's 
proximity on the other side of the village. This 
shows what could have been done had Reno 
charged onward and kept this greatest of the 
war-chiefs occupied, instead of thus permitting 
him to leave a few men to threaten Reno, while he 
concentrated his warriors on the other side of the 
village against Custer. A messenger to Benteen 
from Custer, ordering him to "come on quick and 
bring the packs,'' had caused that gallant officer 
to hasten; but overtaking Reno, who outranked 
him, he was ordered to join his demoralized 
forces, and was compelled to obey. The latter 
thought that the two comimands combined, which 
munbered four himdred men, would soon take 
measures to get into action. But the appeals of 
such officers as Benteen, Weir, French and others 
to lead on were without avail. 



Digitized by 



Google 



186 TRUE TALES OP THE PLAINS 

It is perhaps harsh to criticize; but when one 
thinks that two solid volleys were heard in" the 
distance, which was a signal evidently from Cus- 
ter for help, if the impatient and gallant officers 
and brave men had been led on to do or die, what 
might not have been accomplished! Both attacks 
having been in the nature of a surprise, and as the 
Indian is as susceptible as any one to be puzzled, 
what different results might have occurred if the 
bugle blasts on all sides had rung out as correctly 
and as dutifully as they did at the battle of the 
Washita! 



„J0^(^ 




Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXy 



custeb's last battle 




The last seen of Custer, as 
he started into the ever-to-be- 
remembered battle of the 
Little Big Horn, was when 
he Went over the ridge and 
waved his hat in salute to the 
other commands. Custer, 
making a wide detour to fall 
on the rear of the village, or 
what he thought was the 
rear, immediately struck a very strong band of 
Indians, for by this time Chief Gall had been 
informed of his presence, and, although it was 
a surprise to the Indians, Gall had hastened with 
reenforcements to that point and sent word to 
Crazy Horse and his men from the upper end of 
the village to assist the combined attack on 
Custer. 

They crossed the river at a point where 
they were concealed by a large ravine and got on 

187 



Digitized by 



Google 



188 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

Custer's flank, and so astute had been Chief 
Gall's arrangements that he found himself at- 
tacked in frdnt and on all sides. Custer's first 
charge was successful until he saw the immen- 
sity of the village. He saw that it was a city 
instead of a village. There being a high hill 
a lialf mile back from the Little Big Hom, 
Custer decided to take this as a standpoint. He 
sounded the recall and tried to make this hill. He 
had to turn his back while doing so. The Indians 
are never so brave as when they get any one's 
back to them. On their retreat to the hill, half of 
his men were killed. The rest took up positions, 
but the Indians, being so elated at killing so 
many of his men from the Little Big Horn up to 
the hill, and the failure of Reno to attract the 
Indians continually by coming down the Little 
Big Horn, almost all the fighting Indians concen- 
trated on Custer and fought him to death. 

Fighting desperately to gain a point higher 
up, no doubt, he was, however, compelled to dis- 
mount his men and act on the defensive. Unable 
to advance or retreat, and probably unwilling to 
do so, he must have based his actions on the diver- 
sion that the other commands would make. 
Steadfastly believing this, from later Indian ac- 
counts, they fought coolly, hoping and expect- 
ing for reinforcements which never came, but 
succeeded in keeping up the fight for some 



Digitized by 



Google 



CUSTER'S LAST BATTLE 189 

time. The Indians, well-armed and in over- 
whelming nmnbers, circling and riding at 
speed, kept up ia continuous and effective fire, 
while skirmishers and marksmen crawled through 
the grass, picking off officers. In the meanwhile, 
Reno was still lying on the hill, although they 
could hear the reports of firearms below, and not- 
withstanding that Benteen, Weir, French and 
others continued their appeals, and that the echo- 
ing volleys cried for assistance, he remained there 
until all was silent — ^the Indians eventually kill- 
ing Custer and every one of his gallant band. 
Reno was kept annoyed by the savages until the 
arrival of General Terry and Gibbon's command, 
while, on the second day, the Indians set fire to 
the grasses, to cover their movements with smoke, 
and drew off. Afterward, a visit to the battle- 
scene told the story of Custer's last battle, show- 
ing that every one had at least done his duty, 
and, though defeated, were not disgraced. They 
all died in the proper military formation, every 
officer at his post, and every man in line. Custer's 
body was found, and although all the others were 
mutilated or scalped, his body seemed to have 
been untouched, except by his death- wounds, this 
being a tribute from the savage foe to his courage 
and gallantry. His brother. Captain Tom, and 
his brother-in-law. Captain Calhoun, with a 
nephew, were among the slain, making an im- 



Digitized by 



Google 



IdO TRUE TALES OP THE PLAINS 

usual family affliction. The bodies of all the offi- 
cers were found, with the exception of Dr. Lord, 
Lieutenants Porter, Harrington, and Sturgis, 
and some ten men. The latter's fate has never 
been known — ^whether they were captured and 
tortured, or whether their bodies had been thrown 
into the quicksands near the bed of the Little Big 
Horn, it is not clear, the only certainty being 
that they were dead. Two hundred and twelve 
bodies were buried on the hill, the losses to the 
regiment being, in two days, two hundred and 
sixty-five killed and fifty-two wounded, fifty per 
cent, of the coiounand! 

Lieutenant (now Major) De Rudio, since re- 
tired and living in California, who was among the 
missing on the Reno side, having had his horse 
killed under him, found his way back to the com- 
mand. He and a private, O'Neil, for two days 
and three nights were hid on the field of battle, 
in ravines and in the creek, passing through a 
most horrible experience, that, in itself, nutkes a 
thrilling story. 

Of course there will always be discussions, pro 
and c(m.j2LH regards attention to orders and violat- 
ing injunctions from the commanding officer. It 
stands to reason that in a country where there 
are no telegraph or telephone lines, and condi- 
tions being only known to the one that is present, 
the peculiar style in warfare that the rules of 



Digitized by 



Google 



CUSTER'S LAST BATTLE 191 

civilized war enjoin could not be strictly adhered 
to. General Custer had had experience, and had 
been quite successful on the plains, and as one of 
the most aggravating methods of warfare that 
the Indians possessed was that of scattering in all 
directions and escaping, to meet at some desig- 
nated point, army officers were generally more 
fearful of a failure to bring on an engagement, 
lest the enemy should escape, than they were of 
the dangers of battle. I think this animated Gren- 
eral Custer's actions, believing that Reno would 
go the limit and that together they could at least 
sting the enemy, and that, if not a decisive vic- 
tory, which, of coiu'se, he never doubted, he would 
be able to accomplish a partial victory, even at 
some loss. Of course, without being critical, I 
think a little more scouting should have been done 
at a distance around the village, to ascertain if. 
there were no more trails than the one they fol- 
lowed. General Terry told me himself that when 
he sent General Custer on the trail he knew he 
was sending an experienced Indian-fighter, and 
that as he might be many miles away, even a 
himdred, when he discovered the hostiles, he 
would have to use his own discretion and his own 
judgment in regard to an attack. He naturally 
did not expect that when in front of such a wily 
enemy he would have to ask for orders "what to 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



192 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

do/* The oflBicer in charge was responsible for 
his own actions then. 

Of course, if he should succeed, and victory- 
perched upon his banners, all would be well; but 
even if a little divergence from orders occurred, 
if he did not succeed, why, of course, criticism 
generally followed. 

General George A. Custer showed his belief 
as an experienced man in his judgment of the 
occasion, and, in failing, paid the debt in a fate 
that such a heroic soldier as he fears not to meet, 
though Reno did. 

The story of his life from graduation from the 
U. S. Military Academy, through the Civil War, 
is a striking one for all time to the future young 
American. I will quote here a tribute to his 
memory that is strikingly eflfective : "The school- 
ing of the military academy at West Point, com- 
bined with the grand experience of actual war 
in the unequaled modem contest (that between 
the North and South from '61 to '65), left him 
a past-master in the art, and, with his great com- 
mander. General Phil Sheridan, his name has 
been coupled co-equaUy with Murat and Prince 
Rupert in impetuosity; with the dash, but dis- 
cretion, of Hannibars ^Thunderbolt' Mage; 
Saladin, the leader of those 'hurricanes of horse' 
that swept the Crusaders from Palestine; Crom« 



Digitized by 



Google 



CUSTER'S LAST BATTLE 198 

well, Seydlitz or Zieten — all perfect generals of 
horse/' 

Custer's fight on the Little Big Horn bears 
some resemblance to the charge of the Light Bri- 
gade at Balaclava. Both will live in song and 
story as emblematic of* the soldierly qualities of 
the Anglo-Saxon. Still there was some differ- 
ence: one was a combat between enemies of but 
slight difference in degree of civilization and its 
rules of warfare; the other was a fierce struggle 
with a savage foe, whose victory meant not one 
but a thousand deaths to the vanquished. Some 
returned from the Valley of Death, but in the 
Custer fight not a soldier escaped. Leonidas and 
his band fought no more desperately than did he 
and his gallant men, but 

"Thermopyte had its messenger of death — 
Custer's last battle had none." 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXVI 



LIEUTENANT SIBLEY's SCOUT 




Migor Sibley. 



So MUCH depended on good 
scouting and good scouts 
that I think some of the ad- 
ventures of small scouting 
parties were even more thrill- 
ing, and are surely more re- 
markable, in their demands 
on the intuition of the guides, 
than are the big battles they 
lead up to, and in which cul- 
minate their results. Among 
the able scouts I have known and worked with, 
and who have worked under me, were Frank 
Gruard and Baptiste Fourier. Gruard was by 
some supposed to have come when he was a 
child from one of the Facific islands, as he had 
the dark skin and features of those people, his 
folks joining some emigrants who were massa- 
cred by the Indians. His life was spared, and it is 
known that at one time he was a Sioux Indian, 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIEUT- SIBLEY'S SCOUT 195 

to all intents and purposes, and wore the breech- 
clout. Meeting some hunters and trappers, their 
language recalled his childhood, and he either fig- 
ured out or learned sufficient to impel him to 
desert the red man and join the whites. His 
knowledge of the Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow 
languages, and, of course, great proficiency in 
the universal sign language, and the knowledge 
of the country he acquired while living with 
the Indians, made him a very desirable acquisi- 
tion to the service, especially in the north, and 
among the foothills. Baptiste Poiuier was of 
French trapper and voyageur lineage, mixed with 
Indian blood — a class of people who in time of 
peace traded with, Kved and married into, some 
of the most savage tribes, but who in war-time 
were the first that had to take to the tall 
timber. 

He was known as "Big Bat," in counter dis- 
tinction to another Baptiste (no relation) , a very 
brave and skilful man, and from his stature 
known as "Little Bat." All three of these fig- 
ured in the last Sioux campaign, known as the 
"Ghost Dance War." "Big Bat" had a range 
stallion that made a record as having killed the 
first Indian in the campaign that ended the life 
of Sitting Bull and finished with the battle of 
Wounded Knee. Range horses have the same 
peculiar ties as their ancestors, the wild horse. 



Digitized by 



Google 



196 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

That is, the equine sultan gathers to himself a 
harem which he overlooks and guards with the 
greatest care and intense jealousy. "Big Bat," 
at the opening of hostilities, had"joined the mili- 
tary, and the Indians made preparations to uti- 
lize his horses. So one of the first movements, in 
rounding up cattle and stock, was to make a 
descent on "Big Bat's" outfit. The head pasha 
of the different equine herds was a magnificent 
animal and had been christened, on account of his 
position as champion and his pugnacity, as "John 
L. Sullivan." Once when the Indians, in round- 
ing up the stock, a brave, called Little Panther, 
in the run lassoed "John L.'s" favorite mare. 
Hackamoring her mouth, he and his comrades 
made off; but "Sullivan," seeing them from the 
hills, 'immediately dashed to the rescue. Rushing 
through the bands, and escaping some stray bul- 
lets, caring, indeed, for nothing, he chased the 
fugitives and reached their side. The Indian 
fired at him and missed; "Sullivan" with open 
mouth crushed his arm, pulled him from his 
steed, stamped him to death, and escaped with 
his bride. 

"Big Bat" and Frank Gruard were the two 
scouts that guided Lieutenant Sibley (now 
Major in the Twelfth Cavalry, stationed at Fort 
Des Moines, la.), himself a j'^oung officer of ex- 
perience and ability, on a scouting party with 



Digitized by 



Google 




BREAKING HOBSES ON BUFFALO BILL'S RANCH IN WYOMING. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIEUT. SIBLEY'S SCOUT 19T 

about thirty soldiers, and a newspaper man well 
known to everybody, Mr. John Finerty, now of 
the Chicago Irish Citizen, but then joumalistic 
representative of the Chicago Times. When the 
scouting party was arranged for by General 
Crook, young Finerty, a magnificent specimen of 
a man and of athletic build, joined it and on the 
trip proved himself to be possessed of not only 
endurance, but grit. He made application to be 
permitted to accompany the party, and in his 
desire to write up and secure some items, his am- 
bition and devotion to duty gave him an experi- 
ence that I suppose even now at times haunts the 
spirit of his dreams. It was, indeed, a blood- 
curdling experience, and one that made Sibley, 
the scouts, and Finerty. These men will be re- 
membered as having passed through ajl the emo- 
tions that can be aroused in a person who faces 
what at times looks like certain death. They were 
so situated that to hope to escape was idiocy, and 
that, outside of death in battle, there were only 
two alternatives in case of danger of capture — 
suicide,or a certainty of horrible torture. General 
Crook reluctantly granted the request of Finerty. 
Lieutenant Bourke asked for the style of epitaph 
he desired, and another officer said: "If you 
cannot bring the last report, nail it to a tree, with 
details up to the last moment"; while Captain 
Wells quietly said: "Orderly, bring Mr. Fin- 



Digitized by 



Google 



198 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

erty a hundred rounds of troop 'E' ammuni- 
tion." Well, they started, and at eight o'clock 
that night they left their first halting-place, Big 
Goose Creek, and in the silent moonlight night 
had one of those quiet phantom promenades. 
About three o'clock they took a rest till sunrise, 
about fifty miles from their base, and then close 
to the Little Big Horn River. Gruard chose 
ground concealing them from observation. Gru- 
ard, judging the section rightly, dismounted, 
looked cautiously over the crest, called Baptiste, 
and peering excitedly from around the rocks, 
they soon rolled down the bluflFs, mounted their 
ponies, announced the presence of a war-party, 
meanwhile ordering his men to "Be quick, and 
follow me for your lives." Still keeping under 
cover, he led them over rocky ledges, and they 
sometunes had to lead their horses and leap down 
six or seven feet until they reached a bluflf large 
enough to conceal them all. The scouts and Sib- 
ley and Finerty crawled up among the rocks, 
and, with their glasses, soon confirmed their worst 
fears. The party was large in number and in full 
war-paint and costume. 

Suddenly one of their scouts halted, examined 
the ground, and began to ride in a circle and 
make signals. Gruard knew that they were dis- 
covered, and that there was only one chance — ^to 
lead the horses into the moimtains and prepare 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIEUT. SIBLEY'S SCOUT, il0d 

for the worst. Sibley told the boys "they were in 
for it/' that all must do and die, and off they 
struck out for the first ridge of the mountains, 
a section that Gruard, fortunately, was familiar 
with. An exhausting ride compelled a halt for 
a short rest, when John Becker, the packer, an- 
nounced "The Indians! The Indians are com- 
ing!" followed by some shots that wounded two 
or three horses. Finerty*s horse, struck by a bul- 
let, stumbled, but recovered and bore him to safe- 
ty with the others. Gruard wisely led them to 
comparative safety, or, in other words, "back to 
the woods!" Soon they were located in the thick 
timber, the horses tied to the trees, and plenty of 
strewn logs and fallen timber for breastworks. 
The Indians repeatedly circled around and 
charged, but with little loss, as Sibley cautioned 
economy in ammunition and deliberation in fire. 
Singularly, none of the men were wounded, al* 
though the horses began to suffer. The Indians 
knew that they had them, if they could put them 
afoot. The number of Indians began to in- 
crease and they made a very vigorous charge, in 
which they lost White Antelope, a Cheyenne chief 
of great warrior fame. This dampened their 
ardor, but they kept up an incessant distant firing 
that rattled against the pine trees like hail-stones 
on a bam. An early morning rain had dampened 
the grass, and, as it was drying, Gruard knew 



Digitized by 



Google 



200 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

that they would soon start fires and make a holo- 
caust of them, so they decided that they must 
leave their horses and saddles, each man pack up 
some grub and ammunition, and climb the snowy 
mountains as a last resort. With Becker to lead 
ahead, the two scouts and Sibley remained to 
keep up a desultory fire and then follow. They 
struggled up the precipitous side of the mountain 
until Gruard, Sibley and Pourier joined them 
and scrambled up after them, and then took the 
lead. They marched, stumbled, climbed and fell 
over impediments that would have been impos- 
sible to have overcome in other than sheer neces- 
sity. Thus continued a night of horror, until ab- 
solute fatigue and exhaustion brought them to a 
standstill. They had escaped from one danger, 
but they were now in the trackless mountains, 
with fifty miles of rock, forest and plain between 
them and succor; and as everything superfluous 
had been left behind, save ammunition, rifles, and 
a little grub, they were scantily clad. The ther- 
mometer fell several degrees, a terrible wind 
raged, and a hail-storm chilled them to the mar- 
row, as they huddled under projecting rocks, 
while below, in the distant valley, the heavens 
were illuminated by the fires the Indians had 
started to roast them out. They escaped massacre 
and burning probably to freeze to death. This 
necessitated moving to keep from freezing. Thus 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIEUT. SIBLEY'S SCOUT 201 

the day was spent, straggling along, the strong 
helping the weak, scaling along gigantic walls, 
with paths only a foot wide, and an ahyss of five 
hundred feet helow and sheer walls of rock high 
above them. At last they gained a point in the 
mountains about twenty-five miles distant from 
Crook's conmiand. Halting, they had some sleep 
in a sheltered cave, which gave temporary re- 
spite to the fatigued and stricken men. When it 
was decided to strike down into the valley, to get 
their only refreshment, water, they climbed up 
into the hills again barely in time to miss being 
observed by a strong war-party. Their appear- 
ance was accepted as the final catastrophe of the 
trip — ^their sure annihilation. But as the In- 
dians had piot struck their trail, and they hugged 
close to the ground, there was great rejoicing 
as the Indians quietly rode away; and all 
fell asleep, except the scouts, until dark, when 
the jaded party forded Tongue River up to their 
armpits, cold as mountain river waters are. Two 
were unable to cross, and were hid until the future 
could bring them relief, when it was decided to 
take chances and strike across the country for 
General Crook's camp. The rocks had broken 
their boots, and, with . bleeding feet, ragged 
clothes and many a scar, they eventually saw two 
cavalrymen of the Second, who were out hunt- 
ing, but at the same time were themiselves un- 



Digitized by 



Google 



202 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

conscious of the danger. Sibley rushed them off 
to camp for horses, rations and an escort. Sib- 
ley*s men threw themselves on the groimd too ex- 
hausted to go another step. In two hours, Cap- 
tains Dewees and Rawolle of the Second Cavalry 
arrived with cooked provisions, led horses, and 
an ambulance, and they soon returned to Camp 
Cloud Peak, to receive the hospitality of sym- 
pathizing comrades. It was a perilous trip, the 
mental and physical horrors of which description 
fails to paint and imagination alone can con- 
ceive. Gruard and "Big Bat" made a name for 
their ability. Lieutenant Sibley for his coolness 
and good sense, and John Finerty proved that 
joiunalists will risk anything for duty and the 
securing of the much coveted news item. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXVII 




indian campaign of 1876 — the death op 
yellow hand 

Genebal Phil Sheridan 
arranged this campaign so 
that detachments of the army 
would leave several points, 
and with various objects to 
be accomplished, while the 
eventual objective was to 
concentrate and corral with 
a cordon strong enough to 
crush forever the power 
of the Northern Sioux and 
Cheyennes and their allies. Expeditions under 
Major-General George A. Crook, General Wes- 
ley Merritt and Major-General Eugene A. Carr, 
started from different points, but with active rela- 
tions, in cutting off the Southern Indians, espe- 
cially the Ogalalla and Brule Sioux, and the 
Cheyennes from joining en masse with Sitting 
Bull, or to obstruct and prevent any junction of 
the Northern Sioux with them, as such junction 

903 



YeUow Hand. 



Digitized by 



Google 



204 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

would have given them a strength almost equal 
to the army, and many times larger than the 
forces in that section of the country. These three 
commanders will always stand in the front rank 
of our most experienced soldiers, both in the Civil 
and especially in Indian warfare; had graduated 
at both games, and had on their rosters of officers 
men destined to become equally famous and suc- 
cessful. Merritt's command worked successful- 
ly and had many skirmishes, finally cutting the 
main body of the Indians off and driving them 
back to their agency southward, while driving 
back the Northern Indians coming south. On 
July 15th, while I was scouting for information, 
General Merritt ascertained through Paymaster 
(afterward General) Stanton, that eight himdred 
hostile Cheyennes, fully equipped for the war- 
path, had started to join Sitting Bull. These 
savage horsemen, probably the best in the world, 
would have a start of sixty miles if Merritt 
pushed to the agency to make certain of their 
intention and then pursue them. He did noth- 
ing of the kind. As we had been retracing our 
steps, they felt perfectly secure — so much so, that 
the White Chief, they thought, could not double 
on his tracks and cut them off before they reached 
the timber fringe of the Cheyenne. This they 
could not imagine for one minute, and Merritt 
had to plan a ride that would test to the utmost 



Digitized by 



Google 



\ 










Digitized by 



Google 



/ 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEATH OF YELLOW HAND 205 

the possibilities of man and horse, to overcome 
the advantage they had of him. To discomfit 
these scientific fighters, he had to ride clear 
aromid them in the arc of a circle, while they went 
in a bee-line, and must do it without being dis- 
covered; bring every horse and man to the battle 
front in good condition, as, with seven companies 
of cavalry that were available, they outnimibered 
him two to one, and by leaving the wagon trains 
and impedimenta behind, men and horses would 
have short rations. It was an adventurous ride, 
worthy of extended comment, that by carefulness, 
occasional spats of rest, the old Indian trail was 
found. The Indians had not passed yet; and 
dust-covered and weary, at three a. m. of the 17th 
of July, the command to unsaddle was given 
on the banks of Hat Creek across the Indian 
front, with the Cheyennes in camp not ten miles 
away. We had outraced and were then ahead of 
them, having made one of the most remarkable 
rides in cavalry annals. 

We had come seventy-five miles in twenty-four 
hours, and were ready at daybreak; and the Chey- 
ennes appeared simultaneously. They were an 
astonished lot of redskins, and here occurred what 
is known as the battle of War Bonnet Creek. It 
was in this engagement that fate allotted to me 
the duty to meet personally and successfully the 
war-chief. Yellow Hand. A matter of detail that 



Digitized by 



Google 



206 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

I well remember, the chief yelled to me to "Come 
on! come on! White Long Hair'' ("Cooa! cooa! 
Pe-Ha-He-Has-Ka" in Cheyenne) . Webothfired 
simultaneously, my first bullet going through the 
chief's leg and entering the body of his horse. 
His bullet glanced on my saddle, and my horse 
stumbled in a prairie-dog hole, but I landed on 
my feet. Kneeling quickly, I put a bullet 
through the head of his horse, coming on at speed. 
Thus we were both afoot and in close proximity. 
The story is better told in the press despatches of 
that day, and by Lieutenant (now General) 
Charles King, in his book. Campaigning with 
Crook. The dates and arrival of these despatches 
will show how isolated was the country and the 
length of time it took to communicate with the 
Ea^t; 



THE INDIAN WAE — DETAILS OF COLONEL MEBBITT's 

CHABGE ON THE CHEYENNES — ^A 

SHOBT STRUGGLE 



The Indians, utterly surprised, rush hack in 

disorder — The latest from General 

Crook^s Army 



"FoET Laeamie, July 22, 1876. 
"At noon on Saturday, the 15th inst., the 
Fifth Cavalry, under General Merritt, were 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEATH OF YELLOW HAND 207 

bivouacked on Rawhide Creek, eighteen miles 
from Fort Laramie, to which point they were 
ordered in from the Cheyenne River, one hmidred 
miles north, en route to join Crook. A couriei 
suddenly appeared from the agency with des- 
patches stating that eight hundred Cheyennes 
were making preparation to leave for the North- 
west to join Sitting Bull; that he was to throw 
himself across their line of march in time to in- 
tercept them, and Merritt had to make eighty 
miles before they could make thirty; but off he 
went, and Sunday night found him with seven 
companies hiding under the bluffs on War Bon- 
net or Hat Creek, square up to their front. 

"At daybreak Monday morning. Lieutenant 
King, commanding the outposts to the south- 
east, sent word that the war parties were coming 
over the ridge from the Reservation. Joining 
him at the advanced post. General Merritt f oimd 
the report correct. The command noiselessly 
mounted and was massed imder the bluffs a quar- 
ter of a mile to the rear, and out of sight of the 
Indians. 

"At the same time, the wagon train, under 
Lieutenant W. T. Hall (now Brigadier-General 
Hall), was some six miles off to the southwest, 
slowly approaching, and the Indians were closely 
watching, but keeping concealed from the view 
of its guard. The two companies of infantry with 



Digitized by 



Google 



208 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

him were riding in the wagons. At six o'clock, 
the Indians were swarming all along the ridge 
to the southeast, some three miles away. Sud- 
denly a party of eight or ten warriors came dash- 
ing down a ravine that led directly under the 
hill where Lieutenant King and his six men were 
watching. 

"The object was as suddenly apparent. Two 
horsemen, unconscious of the proximity of the 
foe, had ventured out ahead of the train and were 
making rapidly for the creek. They were 
couriers with despatches for the command. The 
Indians, utterly ignorant of the rapid move of 
the Fifth, were simply bent on 'jumping' the 
couriers and getting their scalps. 

" 'Buffalo Bill,' chief of the scouts, lay on the 
hill with King, and instantly sprang to his horse 
down off the hill. 'All keep out of sight,' said 
the General. 'Mount, now, and when the word 
is given, off with you I' Then, turning to the 
officer of the picket, he said : 'Watch them. King. 
Give the word when you are ready.' 

"Crouching behind the little butte. Bill and his 
party of two scouts and six soldiers were breath- 
lessly waiting; half-way up was the General and 
his staff. The Lieutenant lay at the crest, watch- 
ing the rapidly advancing foe. _ Down they came, 
nearer and nearer, the sun flashing from their 
brilliantly painted bodies and their polished or- 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEATH OF YELLOW HAND 209 

naments. Then, just as they were dashing by the 
front of the hill, King shouts: *Now, lads, in 
with you!' 

"General Merritt sprang up to see the attack, 
just as a tall Indian reeled in his saddle, shot by 
Corporal Wilkinson, of *K' Company. An an- 
swering bullet whistled by the General's head 
just when King — still on watch — sung out: 
'Here they come by dozens.' The reserve Indians 
came swarming down the ridge to the rescue. 
Company *K' was instantly ordered to the front. 
But before it appeared from behind the bluff, the 
Indians, emboldened by the rush of their friends 
to the rescue, turned savagely on 'Buffalo Bill' 
and the little party at the outpost. 

"The latter sprang from their horses and met 
the daring charge with a volley. Yellow Hand, 
a young Cheyenne brave, came foremost, singling 
Bill as a foeman worthy of his steel. Cody, 
kneeling and taking deliberate aim, sent a bullet 
through the chief's leg and into his horse. Down 
went the two, and, before his friends could reach 
him, a second shot from Bill's rifle laid the red- 
skin low. 

"On came the others, bent on annihilating the 
little band that opposed them, when, to their 
amazement, a long blue line popped up in their 
way, and 'K' Company, with Colonel Mason at 
its head, dashed at them. Leaving their dead, 



Digitized by 



Google 



210 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

the Cheyennes scattered back helter-skelter for 
the ridge, but their fire was wild, and their stand 
a short one. Company after company debouched 
from behind the bluff, and, utterly disheartened, 
the Indians rushed for the Reservation, leaving 
behind all their provisions. General Merritt pur- 
sued them imtil night, when the whole command 
went into camp at the agency. 

"The Indians left their dead, and admit having 
more woimded. They lost six ponies. Their 
friends at Red Cloud say they never dreamed that 
the Fifth Cavalry could get there in time to head 
them off. 

"The regiment sustained no loss. It arrived 
at Laramie yesterday and leaves for Crook's 
command to-morrow." 

The above is from the New York Herald, Sun- 
day, July 28, 1876. 

From Captain Charles King's Campaigning 
with Crook, published in 1890 : 

" 'By Jove, General,' says 'Buffalo Bill,' slid- 
ing backward down the hill, *now's our chance. 
Let the party mount here out of sight, and we'll 
cut these fellows off. Come down here, every 
man of you.' 

"Glancing behind me, I saw Cody, Tait, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEATH OF YELLOW HAND 211 

*Chips/ with five cavalrymen, eagerly bending 
forward in their saddles, grasping carbine and 
rifle, every eye bent upon me, watching for the 
signal. Not a man but myself knows how near 
they are. That's right, close in, you beggars I 
Ten seconds more and you are on them! A hun- 
dred and twenty-five yards — a hundred — ^ninety 
< — ^*Now, lads, in with you!' 

"There's a rush, a wild, ringing cheer. Then, 
bang! bang T bang! and, in a cloud of dust, Cody 
and his men tumble in among them, 'Buffalo Bill' 
closing on a superbly accoutred warrior. It is the 
work of a minute ; the Indian has fired andmissed. 
Cody's bullet tears through the rider's leg into 
the pony's heart, and they tumble in a confused 
heap on the prairie. The Cheyenne struggles to 
his feet for another shot, but Cody's second bullet 
hits the mark. It is now close quarters, knife and 
knife. After a hand-to-hand struggle, Cody 
wins, and the yoimg chief, Yellow Hand, drops 
lifeless in his tracks after a hot fight. Ba£9ed 
and astoimded, for once in a lifetime beaten at 
their own game, their project of joining Sitting 
Bull nipped in the bud, they take hurried flight. 
But our chief is satisfied. 'Buffalo Bill' is radiant. 
His are the honors of the day!" 

General Crook, commanding the department, 
who had started early in spring, was up in the 



Digitized by 



Google 



212 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

north and had fought the same Indians who after- 
ward destroyed General Custer's command. 

He fought them in the battle of the Rosebud 
on the 17th of May. This was a very indecisive 
contest — ^practically a severe check to him — com- 
pelling him to take up permanent camp on the 
Big Goose Creek (where Sheridan, Wyoming, 
now stands) and there await reenforcements. 

General Sheridan ordered Generals Merritt and 
Carr, with the Fifth Cavalry, to make forced 
marches to join Crook at Goose Creek. 

I was with this conmiand as chief of scouts and 
guide, and we had been operating in North- 
western Nebraska and the southern part of Da- 
kota, to keep the Indians from the Red Cloud 
and Spotted Tail agencies from going north to 
join the hostiles under Sitting Bull. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXVin 

GENERAL MILES's NAEROW ESCAPE — ^DEATH OF 
CBAZY HOESE AND LAME DEER 




General Nelson A. Miles 
had a remarkable career 
in the CivU War, at the con- 
clusion of which he had risen 
to the position of Major- 
General at the age of twenty- 
six. He had great experi- 
ence and success in rounding 
up and fighting the In- 
dians in the Southwest. In 
the panhandle of Texas and 
in the western portion of the Indian Territory 
the General had also punished the Coman- 
ches, Kiowas and Cheyennes, and wrested su- 
premacy from them. In this campaign, many 
young men, since well known and celebrated, de- 
veloped extraordinary capacity as Indian-fight- 
ers, in the true sense of the word, acquiring the 
ability of the best of scouts. Notable among 

918 



General Miles. 



Digitized by 



Google 



214 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

these was Captain Emmett Crawford (afterward 
killed in a raid in old Mexico), General Law- 
ton (afterward killed in the Philippines), Cap- 
tain Chaffee, and Lieutenant Frank Baldwin, 
who have since achieved great distinction in the 
Cuban, Philippine and Chinese wars, like many 
others of that era, retiring with distinguished 
military honors and shoulder-straps of the high- 
est grade, and also Captain Maus. Grcneral 
Miles, himself, developed peculiar qualities as a 
commander in frontier warfare, that ably fitted 
him for an experience of a winter campaign in 
the North. 

After the Custer massacre, he was left in com- 
mand on the Yellowstone, and erected huts for 
his troops and stores which were brought from 
the Missouri River by wagon. He built two posts, 
one on the Tongue River and one on the Yellow- 
stone, near where is now the city of Glendive. 
As soon as these were completed, instead of wait- 
ing for spring and simmier, he immediately 
planned to keep up activity against the red foe. 

The Indians greatly annoyed his supply trains, 
and on one occasion the train had to return on 
account of the strength of the Indians. This 
roused the General's ire and, instead of the de- 
moralized teamsters, he equipped it with soldiers 
as such, and fighting men to accompany them. 
Sitting BuU himself notified Colonel Otis that 



Digitized by 



Google 



MILES'S NARROW ESCAPE 215 

he must not travel that way, and Miles got after 
old "Bull" and overtook him at Cedar Creek. 
The wily chief sent a flag of truce, as he wished to 
pass the winter comfortably, and wanted permis- 
sion to hunt and trade on condition that he did 
not attack the soldiers. But Miles would not 
temporize. He sent word that there was only 
one peace, and that was by submission. Dining 
this flag of truce they tried to trap him in the 
way in which Greneral Canby lost his life in the 
Modoc Conference in '78; but Miles "coppered" 
the game, and told Sitting Bull: "I'll take no 
advantage of you under a flag of truce. You have 
fifteen minutes to get back to your people and 
fifteen minutes more to accept my terms, or I'll 
commence fighting. Either you or I have got to 
be boss of this part of the country." 

Although the country swarmed with Indians, 
and no reply had come. Miles attacked them with 
such vigor that they left many of their dead on 
their field, which they never liked to do, and con- 
tinued a hot piu^uit for over forty miles, com- 
pelling them to abandon food, lodge poles, camp 
equipage, and ponies. Eventually, 400 lodges 
and 2,000 Indians surrendered and were sent to 
their agencies. 

Sitting Bull and his hostile cronies left the 
main body and escaped northward, where he was 
joined by Gall and some other chiefs. This bit- 



Digitized by 



Google 



216 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

ter experience was an astonishment to Sitting 
Bill and the Sioux, so that it left that section 
free from their immediate depredations. After a 
return to the Tongue River post and a short rest, 
the determined commander made up an expedi- 
tion to follow Sitting Bull's trails northward, al- 
though it was obliterated by deep snow, and the 
winter had opened with great severity, even for 
that region. The suffering of the troops was in- 
tense. A month afterward, Frank Baldwin and 
the troops under Miles overtook and hammered 
old "Bull" on two occasions, and made it so warm 
for him in such a cold climate that he took refuge 
over the Canadian border. General Miles even 
made application for permission from the two 
Governments to follow him to a finish, but, for 
some reason, the higher authorities did not permit 
it. Sitting Bull's influence had always been ably 
seconded by Gall as a fighter, and here I want to 
say that everybody in the "know" recognized Gall 
as one of the bravest and gamest of fighting men 
that history has produced, white or red. Sculp- 
tors, painters, and anatomists recognized him as a 
striking specimen of a man physically. His per- 
sonality is known to students of mankind in an- 
thropological circles and among artists; his pho- 
tograph and picture, with the magnificent head 
splendidly posed on a bust of extraordinary con- 
formation, are to be foimd in many parts of Eu- 



Digitized by 



Google 



MILES'S NARROW ESCAPE 217 

rope as well as in the United States. On one 
occasion, in a fight with the troops, he was shot 
down and ridden over by the cavalry, and it is 
stated that an infantry soldier, in the excitement 
of the moment and to assure his death, drove his 
bayonet clean through his body and left it there, 
* actually pinning him to the ground. His death 
seemed assured. Afterward a rain-storm came 
up which revived him, and he eventually crawled 
off in the darkness, and lived to lead the firing- 
line in the Custer and Reno fights. Years after, 
I saw the evidence of the wound in his stomach. 
This Montana winter, almost continually below 
zero, and at times so cold that the mercury froze 
solid; with snow so deep that if Napoleon had 
had such to tackle he would never have got away 
from Moscow; with death-dealing blizzards peri- 
odical visitors — all tested the commander's and his 
men's inventive genius to overcome what up to 
then appeared an impossibility in the obstacles 
that a winter campaign presented. 

The whole equipment and clothing of the sol- 
diers had to be rearranged, and furs and buffalo- 
robes, deer-hides and beaver-skins, had to be 
drawn upon from the trading posts on the Mis- 
souri and from the agencies. For instance, 
leather belts of all kinds were replaced by canvas 
ones. Further explanations would take too long 
to relate, so suflSce it to say that the winter cam- 



Digitized by 



Google 



218 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

paign was effectively waged and a great battle 
was fought with Crazy Horse, who boldly at- 
tacked the command with a superior force. Crazy 
Horse was an Ogalalla chief, who led in the bat- 
tle against Crook's command, was an important 
factor in the battle of the Little Big Horn, and 
was a demon in daring. 

He gave the command a most determined fight, 
that nothing but the shrewdness of Miles won, as 
it waged for hours, the last part of the struggle 
being in a blinding snow-storm. Several chiefs 
were killed, and a big "medicine man," whom In- 
dian superstition thought invincible, disheartened 
his followers. They fell back, but "Bear Coat," 
as they had nicknamed Miles, kept up the pursuit 
persistently, even with frost-bitten troops; 
and eventually John Bruguier, a half-breed 
and very gallant scout with the command, who 
got in communication at the risk of his life with 
Crazy Horse, convinced the wily chief that 
Miles meant what he said: "Surrender and go 
to the agency, or I will attack you every day and 
keep you awake at nights." This was finally 
consented to, and Crazy Horse was made to ac- 
cept Miles's terms by his chiefs; nine remained 
as hostages, while he and 2,000 of his warriors 
surrendered at the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail 
agencies, and 500 Cheyennes, under White Bull, 



Digitized by 



Google 



I 



MILES'S NARROW ESCAPE 219 

Two Moons, and Hump, surrendered at the 
Tongue River post. 

Crazy Horse fretted under the restraint at 
Camp Robinson, and information showing that 
he was planning to leave the agency with some of 
the worst of the disaffected, it was thought best 
to arrest him. This brought about a fight, in 
which he was mortally wounded and died, smil- 
ingly defying the white man. 

The Cheyennes who sturendered to Miles were 
treated by him in such a brotherly manner that 
he eventually gained their affection and from 
among them enlisted a corps, like the old Pawnees 
on the Platte, as scouts. The Cheyennes in this 
occupation became of inunense service, never 
wavering in their loyalty, and became famous 
under Lieutenant Baldwin and Lieutenant 
Casey, who gained distinction with them in the 
Ghost Dance campaign, although that gallant 
ofiicer met death himself from a hostile Sioux. 

Miles's wmter campaign, in short, was ef- 
fective. The next May found Miles after the 
Minneconjous, under Lame Deer, whom he fol- 
lowed with pack trains and no encimibrances. 
He surprised them on the Muddy, and had them 
completely surrounded, while a dash by Lieu- 
tenant Casey had cut them off from their ponies. 
He hoped to have them surrender without fur- 
ther bloodshed. White Bull, the Cheyenne chief, 



Digitized by 



Google 



220 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

was the medium. Their response to this was a 
rifle bullet through the arm and body of White 
Bull; but the offer was again repeated, and Lame 
Deer and his warrior, Iron Star, accepted and 
approached; but during the parley. Lame Deer 
stepped back, deliberately fired at the General, 
whose escape was miraculous, as his orderly, who 
was directly behind him, was killed by the shot. 
That settled the peace-making, and "pimaping it 
into them" began. Lame Deer and Iron Star be- 
ing among the first to fall. The rest were killed, 
captured or scattered, and thus fortimately es- 
caped "Bear Coat," to add to his Indian-fight- 
ing record by the capture of Nez Perces Joseph 
(the noblest red Roman of them all), and G^- 
ronimo, the Apache (with all that that implies) — 
a soldier thrice badly wounded in the Civil War, 
and whose career extended from the burning sun 
and blistering sands of the staked plains and 
cacti lands of the Southwest to the blighting 
blasts of the blizzard lands of the Nbrthwest; who 
found himself in command, admirably conducted 
and successfully finished the last of the Indian 
wars, in '90 and '91, which ended in the death 
of the misguided Sitting Bull; a man whose 
victories over the red men were accomplished with 
the utmost severity and determination, but who 
after their achievement was truly the Indian's 
friend — General Nelson A. Miles. 



Digitized by 



Google 




i 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXIX 



THE SLIM BUTTE FIGHT — ^DEATH OP AMERICAN 
HOBSE AND MY SHADOW, "BUFFALO CHIPS" 




The successful retreat of the 
Sioux after their victory at 
Little Big Horn required 
quick action, and, after some 
useless marching of Terry 
and Crook combined, it was 
finally arranged that Terry 
and his commands were 
to retire, he to resimie the 
conunand of his depart- 
ment, while his commands 
were to go back to Fort Abraham Lincoln, leav- 
ing General Crook to direct matters, with his ex- 
cellent associate commanders, reenforced by 'Gen- 
eral Nelson A. Miles, General McKenzie, and 
General Anson Mills. General Nelson A. Miles 
was left on the Yellowstone, and was afterward 
engaged all winter in building forts and supply 
points, fighting the Indians with extraordinary 

231 



American Hone. 



Digitized by 



Google 



222 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

success under the most trying circumstances, and 
making a winter campaign in that extreme 
Northern climate, heretofore unequaled. 

General Crook, pursuing his tireless methods, 
pursued the Indians in other directions — at times. 
Crook, and the Indians, too, being in a desperate, 
worn-out and exhausted condition, the Indians, 
if anything, having the advantage of game to 
eat, while he was compelled at times to live on 
horse-meat and mule. I remained with General 
Terry's command, and while operating north of 
the Yellowstone I was sent with despatches to 
Colonel Rice's detachment, making a trip that, 
ten years afterward, gained departmental recog- 
nition as a "dangerous mission," for which, at 
that late date, I received extra compensation of 
$1,200. 

Colonel Anson Mills overtook a village of In- 
dians at Slim Butte, under one of the most promi- 
nent chiefs of the day, American Horse. Mills, 
with Lieutenant Swatka (afterward of Arctic 
fame) , attacked the village, achieving a great vic- 
tory, hut at some loss. Lieutenant Luettwitz had 
his knee shattered so badly ^hat his leg had to 
be amputated on the field. American Horse and 
half a dozen warriors had concealed themselves 
in a cave in the ravine, from which they were 
doing great execution. He would not surrender, 
and as Crazy Horse and his warriors were known 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE SLIM BUTTE FIGHT 223 

to be in the vicinity, and one hundred survivors 
of the village having returned to the attack, the 
position was at least dangerous. American 
Horse had killed three soldiers and wounded 
others. 

• Crook arrived on the scene and had the in- 
•terpreters offer protection if he would surrender, 
which was received with a decided negative. He 
then ordered them to be dislodged, and the men 
advanced under a galling fire, Frank Gruard 
getting to the very mouth of the cave and kill- 
ing one of the warriors. It was here that a man 
I dearly loved and trusted, who had stood beside 
me at many a trying time, had ridden many a 
weary ride and scouted with me under great difii- 
culties, met his fate — ^Jim White, "Buffalo 
Chips." 

A package of winter clothes had arrived for 
me by the river route, and, in parting, I had given 
him my best overcoat, a hat, and other togs, and 
his death for a while caused the Indians to report 
that Pe-Ha-Has-Ka (that is my Indian name) 
had fallen, and in several tribes there were held 
premature obituary rejoicings. While sorrow- 
ing for Jim, I was always proud that he made a 
good showing, and that he brought honor to his 
Western nickname, which was given to him in a 
spirit of raillery by no less a personage than Gen- 
eral Phil Sheridan himself. 



Digitized by 



Google 



224 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

I will let General Charles Bang, who was pres- 
ent, tell the story, which he has done in his history. 
Campaigning with Crook: 

"This time it is not my purpose to write of 
^Buffalo Bill,* but for him, of another whom IVe 
not yet named. The last time we met — Cody 
and I — ^he asked me to put in print a brief notice 
of a comrade who was very dear to him, and it 
shall be done now. 

"James White was his name; a man little 
known east of the Missouri, but on the plains he 
was ^Buffalo Bill's' shadow. I had met him for 
the first time at McPherson Station, in the Platte 
Valley, in 1871, when he came to me with a horse, 
and the simple introduction that he was a friend 
of Cody's. Long afterward we found how true 
and stanch a friend he was, for when Cody joined 
us at Cheyenne as chief scout, he brought White 
with him as assistant, and Bill's recommendation 
secured his inmiediate employment. 

"On many a long day's march after that. 
White rode by my side along the flanks of the 
colunm, and I got to know him well. A sim- 
pler-minded, gentler frontiersman never lived. 
He was modesty and courtesy itself, conspicuous 
mainly because of two or three imusual traits for 
his class — ^he never drank, I never heard him 
swear, and no man ever heard him lie. 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 



THE SLIM BUTTE FIGHT 225 

"For years he had been Cody's faithful follow- 
er — ^half servant, half *pardner/ He was Bill's 
*fidus Achates/ Bill was his adoration. They had 
been boys together, and the hero-worship of ex- 
treme youth was simply intensified in the man. 
He <*opied Bill's dress, his gait, his carriage, his 
speech — everything he could copy; he let his long 
yellow hair fall low upon his shoulders, in wist- 
ful imitation of Bill's glossy brown curls. He 
took more care of Bill's guns and horses than 
he did of his own; and so, when he finally claimed, 
one night at Laramie, the right to be known by 
some other title than simple Jim White — some- 
thing descriptive, as it were, of his attachment for 
Cody and his lifelong devotion to his idol, *Buf- 
falo Bill,' a prominent ofiicer (Grcneral Sheridan) 
dubbed him ^Buffalo Chips/ and the name was a 
fixture. 

"Poor, honest-hearted *Chips'I His story was 
a brief one after we had laimched out from where 
Cody left us to carry some despatches for Terry. 
^Chips' remained in his capacity as scout, though 
he seemed sorely to miss his *pardner,' whose last 
caution was: *Jim, now don't be rash I' 

"It was just two weeks after that we struck 
the Sioux at Slim Butte. You may remember 
that the Fifth had ridden in haste to the relief of 
Major Mills, who had surprised the Indians away 
in our front early on Saturday morning, had 



Digitized by 



Google 



226 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

whipped them m panicky confusion out of their 
tepees into the neighboring rocks, and then had 
to fight on the defensive against ugly odds until 
we rode in to the rescue. As the head of our 
column jogged in among the lodges. General 
Carr directed us to keep on down to face the 
bluffs to the south, and Mills pointed to a ravine 
opening out into the village, with the warning: 
*Look out for that gully; there are Indians hid- 
den in there, and they Ve knocked over some of 
my men/ 

"Everybody was too busy just then to pay 
much attention to two or three wounded Indians 
in a hole. We were sure of getting them when 
wanted. So placing a couple of sentinels where 
they could warn stragglers away from its front, 
we formed line along the south and west of the 
captured village, and got everything ready to re- 
sist the attack we knew they would soon make in 
full force. 

"Half a dozen soldiers got permission to go 
over and join in, while the rest of us were hun- 
grily hunting about for something to eat. The 
next thing we heard was a volley from the ravine, 
and saw the scouts and packers scattering for 
cover. One soldier held his ground — shot dead. 
Another moment, and it became apparent that 
not one or two but a dozen Indians were crouch- 
ing somewhere in that narrow gorge, and the 



Digitized by 



Google 



,THE SLIM BUTTE FIGHT 227 

move to get them out assimied proportions. Lieu- 
tenant Clark, of General Crook's staff, sprang 
into the entrance, carbine in hand, and a score of 
cavalrymen followed, while the scouts and others 
went cautiously along either bank, peering warily 
into the cave-like darkness at the head. A squad 
of newspaper correspondents, led by that reckless 
Hibernian, Finerty, of the Chicago Times, came 
tearing over, pencil in hand, all eagerness for 
items, just as a second volley came from the 
concealed foe, and three more of their assailants 
dropped bleeding in their tracks. Now our peo- 
ple were fairly aroused, and oJflScers and men by 
dozens hurried to the scene. The misty air rang 
with shots, and the chances looked bad for those 
redskins. Just at this moment, as I was nmning 
over from the western side, I caught sight of 
^Chips' on the opposite crest. All alone, he was 
cautiously making his way, on hands and knees, 
toward the head of the ravine, where he could look 
down upon the Indians beneath. As yet, he was 
protected from their fire by the bank itself — ^his 
lean form distinctly outlined against the eastern 
sky. He reached a stimted tree that grew on the 
very edge of the gorge, and there he halted, 
brought his rifle close imder his shoulder, in readi- 
ness to aim, and then raised himself slowly to his 
feet, lifted his head higher and higher, as he 
peered over. Suddenly a quick, eager light shone 



Digitized by 



Google 



228 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

in his face, a sharp movement of his rifle, as 
though he were about to raise it to the shoulder, 
when bang! — ^a puflF of white smoke floated up 
from the head of the ravine. *Chips* sprang con- 
vulsively in the air, clasping his hands to his 
breast, and with one startled, agonizing cry: *0h, 
my God, boys! Good-by, BillT plunged heavily 
forward, on his face, down the slope — ^shot 
through the heart. 

"Two minutes more, what Indians were left 
alive were prisoners, and that costly experience 
was at an end. 

"Brave old American Horse had been shot 
through the bowels and died that night, notwith- 
standing the attention of the surgeons. The lit- 
tle band of Indians had sold their lives dearly, 
while they displayed all the bravery and courage 
of the Sioux. 

"We buried poor ^Chips' in the deep ravine 
with our other dead, and no scout was more imi- 
versally mourned than *BuflFalo BillV follower 
and devoted friend, Jim White/' 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXX 



BECEITED BY AN ABMY LINE OF BATTLE 



The junction of Grcnerals 
Crook, Merritt and Carr's 
commands at Goose Creek 
brought together a trio of 
military experience, ability, 
push and determination that 
is absolutely necessary to suc- 
cessful Indian-fighters. This 
was more important, as the 
disaffection of the power- 
ful Northern tribes had 




Mi^.-Gcn* A* H. Tcny* 



gathered in the field in aid of the hostiles an 
unusual number^ of Indians, all of whom were 
bent on war to the death. Sitting Bull occupied 
a very advantageous and strategic position, as 
he was located where he could receive reenf orce- 
ments from an arc of a circle that permitted re- 
enforcements to readily join him from five differ- 
ent agencies. While our command had cut off the 
main body of Southern Sioux from joining him, 

999 



Digitized by 



Google 



280 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

numbers had quietly slipped away, eluded the 
other troops, and massed in such numbers that 
they even challenged that grand old man. Crook. 
They swarmed so thickly in that then unknown 
country that our Indian allied scouts, though true 
as steel, expressed themselves as very doubtful 
as to a successful result to the white man in this 
campaign. To show the reader that we had no 
child's play, at that time when there should have 
been 12,873 men at Red Cloud Agency, there 
were but 4,760 Indians. At Spotted Tail and 
Rosebud, instead of 9,610, only 2,315 remained. 
At Cheyenne River, instead of 7,586, only 2,280 
remained. At Standing Rock Agency, instead 
of 7,322, only 2,305 were on hand. In fact, there 
were at least 25,800 Indians less at these four 
agencies than the Indian Bureau's report showed. 
Sitting Bull and his nucleus of continued hos- 
tiles generally averaged three or four thousand. 
That left about 29,000 Indians available for 
scouting, harassing, attacking and annoying us 
in a desultory method. The United States army, 
in all sections at that time, amounted to about 
25,000 men. The country was entirely unknown, 
except to a few scouts, trappers, and such Indian 
allies as we could muster who had some hereditary 
hatred of the Sioux. The enemy were in a coun- 
try every step of which they knew, and were 
familiar with every pass, canyon or ford that we 



Digitized by 



Google 



RECEIVED BY BATTLE LINE 281 

could not avoid, enabling them to act aggressive- 
ly to the best advantage. These three really great 
officers recognized the situation, and determined, 
no matter at what sacrifice of personal comfort 
to themselves and men, that they had to outdo 
the Indians, even in endurance, discomfort and 
hardship, as well as in pluck, to even recklessness. 
That is, the Indian can at times starve, and the 
white man must beat him as a starver. It is 
only the men who could starve, do without meat 
and drink, and outlast the red man in everything, 
that could hope to win. Therefore, after con- 
sultation, they decided to take our force of fight- 
ing men, 2,000 in number, with pack-mules, fif- 
teen days* rations, and reserve ammunition, alone 
with them. The pack train of 160 wagons, with 
the drivers, discharged soldiers, and camp-fol- 
lowers only to guard them, were sent back to Fet- 
terman. No man could take with him a change 
of clothing, had but a single blanket, besides a 
saddle blanket, his arms, a himdred rounds of 
ammunition, and four days' rations, on his horse. 
Officers and men alike, with a poncho for a cov- 
ering and a saddle for a pillow, were allowed 
no tents; this will give the reader an idea of the 
necessities of the occasion and the physical dis- 
comforts that we were bound to face. But this 
meant, to all the command, that we would have 
the mobility of action equal to the Indian foe, as 



Digitized by 



Google 



282 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

they had left all their impedimenta at the agen- 
cies — ^their one advantage over us being that they 
could get plenty of fresh game, which their pres- 
ence would drive away from us, and could bum 
the grass to starve our ponies after their herds 
had feasted on it. These difficulties were con- 
tinuous on our route, and with rainy days, cold 
nights, active marches, skirmishes and fights, 
actually became a warming-up diversion. Twen- 
ty-five miles a day were generally covered, and 
the reader can imagine some of the difficulties 
when on one day we crossed the crookedest stream 
in the world, the Tongue River, seventeen times, 
and still we accomplished a march of twenty-five 
miles. One day we had to camp all day from the 
intense smoke and fog mingled together, and that 
lost time had to be made up by a march in the 
darknight, which was awe-inspiring in its mysteri- 
ous silence, broken only by the steady tramp, 
tramp, tramp of the iron-hoofed cavalry. The 
nights were as cold as midwinter; heat and dust 
are bad, but cold, sleet and mud are worse. At 
last, after many adventures, we reached the trail 
that Custer took on his fatal scout, and the horses 
were halted to give them a lunch on the grassy 
ground above the creek. I had gone a day ahead 
to reconnoiter, as it was near where we supposed 
we were to form a junction with Greneral Terry's 
command. 



Digitized by 



Google 



RECEIVED BY BATTLE LINE 283 

I succeeded in finding them, of course, but did 
not anticipate such a grand reception as was given 
me, or that the army would be placed in battle 
array to see such a humble guest. For half the 
day I had seen Indians and Indians had seen me; 
but by hiding occasionally in the woods and skirt- 
ing through the timber, the latter, apparently, 
had not discovered me imtil, crossing a valley, I 
stumbled so close upon them that I was sure they 
could see me; but as they turned and flew I di- 
vined that they were some of Terry's Crow and 
Cree scouts. 

I will refer to one of the press despatches 
of that era to give an account of this incident, 
one that has always been the most pleasant per- 
sonally in my career, although saddened at the 
time by the fate of Custer. This despatch was 
sent from Terry's comimand that received me, 
and I think it can tell the story better than I 
could: 

"Our march now lay through a succession of 
abandoned Indian camps, showing that we 
were on the trail of the Sioux. The bleached 
bones of buffaloes, and now and then the 
shaggy head of this monarch of the plains, testi- 
fying to the recent passage of Indian hunters, 
were met with from time to time scattered among 
the ^wickiups,' or temporary shelters made of 



Digitized by 



Google 



234 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

saplings and tree branches; but,. so far, no signs 
of the hostile Sioux were encountered. Our pic- 
turesque Crow and Cree allies had brought in- 
formation of the near approach of the Sioux, and 
we were in hourly expectation that the savages 
would appear to dispute our progress. Plains, 
scarred by deep canyons, we passed, which might 
conceal an army from view, and yet were invisible 
at a few hundred yards distant. Right and left 
ran continuous lines of bluffs on either hand, of- 
fering positions that, defended by resolute and 
well-armed men, would be almost impregnable. 
"Suddenly, while standing around a fire at a 
temporary stopping place, we were startled by 
a quick succession of unearthly yells, and, soon 
after, a band of Crows, painted hideously, burst 
into camp at full gallop. They reported *Heap 
Sioux' coming toward us, more Sioux than they 
had ever seen before. This our informant ex- 
pressed clearly in sign language, showing us the 
Sioux moimted and coming to cut our throats. 
The interpreter soon after arrived and confirmed 
our interpretation of the Indian sign-language. 
Soon we were startled by a simultaneous rush of 
the Cree scouts, who announced the Sioux. The 
troops immediately formed in line of battle, and 
the scene was an animated one. Two companies 
of the Seventh Cavalry, imder Captain French 
and Lieutenant De Rudio, were to support the 



Digitized by 



Google 



RECEIVED BY BATTLE LINE 235 

scouts in case of attack, while the column was 
properly arranged as well as the difficult nature 
of the ground would permit. 

"One battalion of the Seventh Cavalry, under 
Captain Weir, formed a mounted skirmishing 
line, at full gallop, aided by the Second Cavalry, 
drawn up in column on their flank imder General 
Grisbin and Lieutenant Low's battery of three 
guns. The trains were closed up, and the com- 
panies of the Fifth Infantry, under General 
Miles; the Sixty-sixth, imder Colonel Moore, and 
the Twenty-second, under Colonel Otis, were ex- 
tended along the flanks and moved in the rear as 
supports. For a few minutes all was expectation 
and anxiety. 

"A single horseman advanced from the timber, 
and there was a muttered exclamation from many 
mouths : 'There they come !' As we strained oiu* 
ears for the report of the first gun, the horseman 
advanced toward the skirmishers, making signs 
of friendship. It proved to be Bill Cody, the 
scout, better known as 'Buffalo Bill,' dressed in 
the magnificence of the border fashion. He an- 
nounced that we were in front of General Crook's 
command, and said we might put off all bloody 
thoughts for that day. Such a reception probably 
no man ever received, as warm in its greeting as 
would have been the warmth of the reception of 
the hostile Sioux.'* 



Digitized by 



Google 



286 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

It was, indeed, one of the grand days of myj 
life, and, when the two commands joined to- 
gether, joy reigned supreme and hardships were 
forgotten. 



.l^MiSt 




Digitized by 



Google 




WYOMING OIRLS OUT 



FOR HEALTiJjg.,.^^^^,^ Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXXI 

LIEUTENANT BE RUDIO'S HAIRBREADTH ESCAPE 

. ""-- ./j[^ When Terry's and Crook's 
I commands, thus joined to- 
I ' ^ I gether, went into camp and 

-R '■::{ guards were placed to pre- 
^^ ,,^- \ vent surprise, the afternoon 
1™ and evening were spent in a 
^ pleasant reunion. It was re- 
IV ,?;: .; j m markaWc to notice the diflFer- 

1^^^^^^ J ence in the two outfits, as our 
General Crook. (Crook's) officers had no- 

where to receive and no re- 
freshments to offer, and, as Terry had traveled 
fully equipped, with over 160 wagons of supplies, 
their horses had been grained, they were in good 
condition to act as hosts, and we splendidly as 
appreciative guests, with an appetite. 

Crook, Merritt and Carr were in rough hunt- 
ing campaign rigs, and among the whole staff 
there was not a complete uniform. Deerskin, 
buckskin, flannels, corduroy, canvas and rags 



287 



Digitized by 



Google 



238 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

prevailed, so that you could hardly tell an officer 
from a private, and old chums from West Point 
days laughed at us for our border-ruffianish, un- 
shaved appearance. Even the unfortunate Sev- 
enth Cavalry seemed to be in a well-kept condi- 
tion, and one of our officers exclaimed in envy: 
"Great Scott! look at Reno's tent! Why, it is 
splendidly carpeted!" But we received a gener- 
ous amoimt of courtesies from them, while we 
well tested the contents of their commissary 
wagons. 

A great part of the night was spent in ex- 
changing reminiscences of the late stirring events. 
One of the most thrilling personal experi- 
ences that I ever heard was that of Lieutenant 
De Rudio, who was cut off from Reno's com- 
mand and spent two days and nights filled with 
such narrow escapes and blood-ciu-dling dangers 
as to make, under the conditions, the most callous 
man's hair stand on end. Sitting around the 
camp-fire over our pipes, he related the story of 
his escape but a few days before, and so vividly 
as to make one almost feel the ghostly proximity 
of the red man. 

In the fight he was guarding a pony-crossing 
with eight men, when one of them said: "Lieu- 
tenant, get your horse — quick! Reno's retreat- 
ing!" But as no trumpet had been sounded, and 
no order had been given, he hesitated and waited 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIEUT. DE RUDIO'S ESCAPE 239 

for the call. As the men had seen the others re- 
treating, they unceremoniously left, and De 
Rudio, seeing the guidon left behind, rode back 
to get it, which he did, but saw thirty-five or forty 
Indians coming. He dashed oflF, and they fired 
a volley; but leaning low on his horse, it went 
high over him. He rode into the thick under- 
brush, when they fired many shots into the woods, 
the bullets cutting the branches all aroimd him. 
He crossed the creek, scrambling up the bank, 
when suddenly he saw hundreds of Indians in 
front of him, not fifty yards distant, shooting at 
the retreating soldiers, with their backs toward 
him. He instantly saw that he was entirely cut 
oflF. While thinking how desperate a run for it 
it would be, the thought of wife and children 
nerved him, and he was about to brave it, when a 
yoimg Indian, about thirty yards distant on the 
right, fired and killed his horse. The shot at- 
tracted the other Indians, and De Rudio jumped 
down the bank, hiding in an excavation; and sev- 
eral volleys were fired, so accurately, seemingly, 
that the Indians thought he must be killed. A 
terrible yelling began among the Indians, and all 
at once the firing ceased. Peering out, he saw 
the cause. Captain Benteen's colunm was com- 
ing over the hills, and had attracted their atten- 
tion. It aroused the hope that they would come 
near enough for him to join them, but, in a few 



Digitized by 



Google 



240 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

minutes, they disappeared, and the Indians all 
started off in that direction. Reno's command 
had evidently rallied and they all got together, 
so his only hope was to crawl aromid imder the 
underbrush, and get as near Reno's command as 
he could, which he could plainly see. At the 
same time there was a movement on another hill 
on the right, and he thought he saw for a moment 
General Custer and some oflScers, and then they 
disappeared. ^Tiile quietly going through the 
brush, he heard a whispered : "Lieutenant ! Lieu- 
tenant !'* Then he recognized Private O'Neil of 
"G" Troop, and Gerard, interpreter, and Scout 
Jackson. The two latter had horses, but O'Neil's 
had been killed. 

Gerard and Jackson would not desert their 
horses, fearing they would neigh or be seen, 
as Indians were passing back and forth, attracted 
by heavy firing on the village, which must have 
been the Custer fight. As they refused to leave 
the horses, he started with O'Neil afoot on their 
own hook. 

At one time an Indian rode within a few feet 
of them, cut a switch, and went on. They were 
then at the edge of a clearing, which they dared 
not cross until dark, and they hid themselves be- 
tween some driftwood in a hole, placing their 
cartridges all aroimd handy, and ready for the 
expected attack. 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIEUT. DE EUDIO'S ESCAPE 241 

Two shots were fired in close proximity, and 
they thought they were gone. Peering out, he 
saw that it was Indian women who were muti- 
lating the bodies of some dead soldiers. Search- 
ing around the groimd, they came so near that 
they were tempted to fire at them. 

The Indians seemed to be, although occupied, 
suspicious that some were still around the bushes, 
and so set fire to the timber. The smoke and 
flames forced them out of their hiding place, just 
as Jackson and Gerard joined them, having left 
their horses where they first met, stufiing grass 
in their nostrils to prevent them from attracting 
attention. Wrapping their blouses aroimd their 
heads, they succeeded in escaping into the thick 
brush along the bank of the creek. From here 
they saw that McDougall had joined Reno with 
the pack-train. At the finish of the firing in the 
direction where Custer was, hundreds of Indians 
returned, and the fight on the hiU was kept up all 
night. The two scouts got their horses, and, with 
O'Neil and De Rudio holding the tails, decided 
to ford the river under darkness at the place 
where they had crossed in the morning. By 
making a detour round the Indians, and as it 
was dark, they passed close to three bands of red 
men without molestation, O'Neil and De Rudio 
on these occasions keeping alongside the horses 
and out of sight. The fourth party came along 



Digitized by 



Google 



242 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

and shouted to them in Sioux, and Jackson and 
Gerard cut loose and the two afoot dropped and 
hid in the sage-brush. / 

The Indians pursued the horsemen a short dis- 
tance, firing shots at them, but did not see the 
two men in the brush, although they passed in 
single file within three or four feet of them. 

O'Neil and he reached the ford and decided to 
secrete themselves and wait imtil daylight. The 
moon came out but dimly, and they saw a party 
that looked like American cavalry, as they were 
on American horses and dressed in the soldier's 
imiform, the leader riding a sorrel horse with 
four white legs. He was sure that it was Cap- 
tain Tom Custer. Elated, he cried out: "Hello, 
Captain I" The rider stopped, and, although they 
could not see him, a fiendish yell and a volley of 
bullets told them they were Indians. They rushed 
through the brush, the Indians firing at the mov- 
ing bushes volley after volley. Their escape was 
miraculous. 

It turned out afterward that these Indians, by 
their firing, spoiled a bit of stratagem they had 
arranged to deceive Reno, by dressing in the 
clothes of dead soldiers of Custer's command, 
and, equipped with clinking sabres and on Ameri- 
can horses, they expected to deceive them in the 
night, by pretending to be men of Custer's party. 
This firing at De Rudio and giving the Indian 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIEUT. DE RUDIO'S ESCAPE 248 

yell put the Reno men on their guard. Proceed- 
ing on their way, two Indians came hunting for 
the fugitives, belie^ong, of course, that it was only 
some woimded soldier. Wliile himting for them 
they approached within five yards, and, evident- 
ly having seen them, one jumped from his horse, 
when De Rudio fired and dropped him dead, 
O'Neil's carbine knocking the other one out of his 
saddle and killing him. The Indians in the 
hills saw the flash and puflF and fired another 
volley in that direction, but the two desperate 
men hastily concealed themselves behind a big 
log which several bullets had struck. The bul- 
lets struck the groimd within a few feet and even 
inches of them continuously. 

Again the woods were fired at this point, but 
as it had been rainy in the evening the smoke was 
stronger than the flames, and was thus their sal- 
vation, and they hid in a deep part of the creek 
with only their heads out of water, but with their 
cartridges and firearms on the bank ready for 
action. They remained there, and in a little 
oasis of bushes that the fire had not touched, with- 
out moving or speaking, until nine o'clock on the 
26th of June. About four o'clock there were two 
signal pistol-shots fired, the Indian vidette left 
his post at the ford, and a loud voice was heard 
haranguing the Indians, and a band of three or 
four hundred passed closely and rode off. They 



. Digitized by 



Google 



244 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

coiild see them for miles down the river, and 
heard them singing a peculiar diant. By six- 
thirty they had gone as far as they cotdd see, and 
it was evident lliat something had caiised them 
to move away,. as it appeared to them that the 
troops must have also left the hill. 

Hungry, exhausted and dispirited, their con- 
dition can be imagined. The command gone, and 
they a hundred miles from the Yellowstone 
River! However, when everything was quiet, 
in the dark night, they started in the direction of 
Reno's retreat, and after about five miles they 
came to a high hill, from which they saw a fire. 
At times the fire disappeared, and they conclud- 
ed that there must be human beings passing 
around it, which hid it occasionally from sight. 
But what kind of human beings? Indians or 
white? There was the rub. They crawled on 
with great cautiousness, fearing the Indians 
would have to be crawled through even to reach 
Reno, if it was Reno, when their hearts were 
raised by the braying of a mule. Still, he might 
be a captured mule, so they crept along on their 
bellies cautiously until they got so near that they 
heard voices talking in English. They crawled 
within a hundred yards of the visible party, and 
called out to the picket who they were, De Rudio 
and O'Neil: "For God's sake, don't shootl" 
A cheer from the pickets and, in a few minutes. 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIEUT. DE RUDIO'S ESCAPE 245 

Uie tired and famished survivors of many mental 
deaths were munching crackers and coffee with 
Captain Vamum, What must have been the feel- 
ings of these men going through that forty-eight 
hours of hope and despair, alternately domi- 
nating, can only be remembered by the man who 
was one of the first to ford the Little Big Horn 
going west, and the last to ford it going east — 
as he is sitting at his fireside, in honorable retire- 
ment now in California — Major Charles De 
Rudio. 




Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXXII 



SITTING BULL AND "tHE MAN IN THE DAEK" 




As THESE short descriptions 
of events, deserving more ex- 
tensive reference than pos- 
sible here, are nearing a close, 
and have covered a period 
with which his name is asso- 
ciated, it is fitting that the 
general reader should be 
given a little insight into the 
character of the famed 
• Sioux Indian — Sitting Bull. 
After remaining in Can- 
ada until his people were leaving him and return- 
ing to their reservations, having only a remnant 
of his immediate following and family left, he 
himself consented to return, under conditions that 
would be favorable to his followers, while he was 
assured of immunity from personal punishment. 
He was wise enough to know that his absence 
was weaning many from obedience to his sway. 



Sitting BuU. 



Digitized by 



Google 



SITTING BULL 247 

and martyrdom at a distance, he thought, was 
not as effective in retaining popularity and power 
as would be persecution imder the eyes of his 
people. He, therefore, rightly chose to take 
his medicine on his native heath — ^where his every 
action would have the effect that the accom- 
plished actor strives for with his audience; every 
agitator tries for with the masses; every dema- 
gogue essays when trying to sway the mob. Ex- 
ercising the cunning of an arch-schemer, allied 
to an imdoubted racial pride and patriotism that 
the future historian, devoid of our generation's 
view of the Indian question, unprejudiced and 
unbiased, may be justified in recording as the ac- 
tion of a savage largely endowed with the courage 
of his convictions, of incorruptible loyalty to his 
people, a stickler for their treaty rights, a native 
politician who if schooled a little more in diplo- 
macy and its concealment of designs would claiss 
him as the great Indian statesman. In war his 
bitter opponent, in peace he won my friendship 
and sympathy; he impressed me as a deep think- 
er; conscientious as to the proper rights to the 
lands of their fathers, he advanced arguments 
that were strong and convincing. His claim of 
primitive possessions for ages beyond the white 
man's coming; of the conditions being imdis- 
turbed for centuries and existing as the Great 
Manitou had ordained; the bountiful supplies he 



Digitized by 



Google 



248 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

had furnished on land and in the waters; of wild 
fruit, wild fowl, wild cattle; abundance of wild 
horses, verdure to support them without the plow- 
man's weary work — all fimiished him an argu- 
ment that the disturbance and compulsory change 
to its heirs of this legacy was arbitrary, unjust to 
the verge of what we would call sacrilegious in- 
terference with the Divine will. 

He had all the old treaties in his head in the 
Indian legendary manner, also in hieroglyphics; 
but in writing and printed type he had an extract 
from the treaty of 1868, by which the Sioux Res- 
ervation of Dakota was set apart "for the abso- 
lute and imdisturbed use and occupation of the 
Indians, and upon which no outsiders but Gov- 
ernment employees shall be allowed to pass, settle, 
or reside," And the Big Horn country was set 
apart as a hunting-ground ! The old man had this 
well-worn parchment in a buckskin cover, and 
treasured it as one would the articles or legacy to 
one's birthright. 

Basing his case, like a lawyer, he would intro- 
duce it as a silent witness, justifying his actions, 
and, with keen eyes, he would watch it carefully, 
so that it could not be tampered with; and while, 
of course, he could not read, he had marks on 
this sacred totem that he was familiar with. His 
eagle eye would scan the face of the reader of it 
to see the effect, and, on its return, his face inti- 



Digitized by 



Google 



SITTING BULL 249 

mated strongly the triumph it gave him as a 
daimant to a clear title. 

Sitting Bull had a very strong, determined 
face, a splendid head, well set on a long-bodied, 
short-legged frame. I have seen artists in Eng- 
land frame his profile with the collar, necktie and 
hair of the statesman of Hawarden, producing a 
perfect profile of Gladstone; also with the same 
hat and neckwear like unto Bismarck. 

I will give a general idea of the old man's de- 
scription of conditions, results, and the power to 
him of some mysterious man that was invisible, 
being in the dark — away East. 

That the white man at this time had taken most 
of the land, had destroyed or driven away the 
game, and that the least he could do was to halt 
and leave Sioux people undisturbed, the white 
men representing the Great Father having in 
1868 made the treaty to that effect. Others had 
arranged with them to build an "iron road," with 
a "horse that ate wood, breathed fire and smoke,'* 
to draw wagons and emigrants quickly across 
their country (to Oregon, Washington and Cali- 
fornia) toward the setting sun. With pleasure 
they agreed. When this road was built, it was 
only as wide as his outstretched arms, but the 
"Man in the Dark" had taken from them lands 
twenty miles in width for hundreds of miles. 
"The Man in the Dark" is known to us as the 



Digitized by 



Google 



250 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

"corporations," and it was intensely interesting, 
as far back as 1885, to hear this old Lidian score, 
from his point of view, the same combination, for 
its encroachment, that has aroused such a commo- 
tion in political, commercial and social circles 
among to-day*s white leaders of public thought 
and the protectors "of the peepul*s rights." 

His arguments, as I see them now, covered 
every one that the unselfish advocate of com- 
mimal existence can advance, practicable when 
the so-called "civilized man" has become as con- 
tented as was the primitive children of prairie 
land and forest — ^but lacking which, this survival 
of the fittest seems to decree the fate of the Indian 
and control the relative prosperity of the white. 
The fire horse caused prairie fires; his attendants 
increased until they came with shovel, spade and 
carpenter tools. They first erected tepees, got 
lonely and brought their squaws. Their friends 
soon came to join them, and soon wooden tepees 
were built, and camps became villages, and vil- 
lages towns, imtil cities were filled with crowds 
of people (such as Bismarck, Mandan, etc.). 
Then the "Man in the Dark" sold the land. 

Later, when the crops failed and the lessee did 
not pay, he kicked the tenant out and resold the 
land. He took the money back in the dark to- 
ward the rising sun. If a poor man had no money 
he could not ride, but there was plenty of room; 



Digitized by 



Google 



SITTING BULL 251 

he had to walk — often to die by the roadside of 
hardships or starvation, if some Samaritan In- 
dian did not feed him. The "Man in the Dark" 
never came there when he and his chief made com- 
plaints. No one was responsible. They were told 
to send letters or speak by the lightning to the 
"Man in the Dark," but he never answered. 
When the Government treaties were broken, a 
similar discourteous lack of consideration oc- 
curred. "My chiefs and me, who signed, were al- 
ways here. The Great Father's head men [Gen- 
eral Harney and others] were not. They never 
returned. New white chiefs took their places, and 
every four years new Great Fathers took power, 
and their men laughed at what their predecessors 
had done. ^Tien the Sioux left Minnesota and 
went beyond the Mississippi and Missouri, the 
great white fighting chiefs promised them they 
would never be disturbed. Now they send mili- 
tary and give me only a prairie chicken's flight 
four ways, saying that is enough and all I need 
[160 acres of land], while the 'Man in the Dark' 
was selling hundreds of acres of land that he did 
not want out here. Again, he was a powerful 
white chief with plenty of land that once belonged 
to the Indians, and lived toward the rising sun — 
this *Man in the Dark.' " 

Sitting Bull's fateful end will form another 
and succeeding story. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER XXXIII 



DEATH OF SITTING BULL 




The breaking of treaties so 
frequently, and the invasion 
of tile Black Hills and other 
sections by the gold-seekers, 
prospectors and trappers, be- 
came the cause of constant ir- 
ritation, leading to almost 
continual contests, raids and 
massacres. This condition 
had really brought on the 
war of 1875-1876, resulting 
in the Custer fight as well 
as its many succeeding clean-ups* 

The forfeiture of the Black Hills and injudi- 
cious reductions of rations kept discontent alive. 
When, in 1889, Congress passed a law dividing 
the Sioux Reservation into many smaller ones, 
so as to isolate the diflferent tribes or dans of the 
Dakota Nation, a treaty was submitted to their 
vote, whereby, by reinstating the cut-off rations 



Major Burke. 



Digitized by 



Google 




TYPICAL OIllL ROUGH RIDER OF THE 



^^g^d by Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEATH OF SITTING BULL 258 

and paying for ponies captured or destroyed in 
the '76 war, and other certain conditions, they 
ceded about one-half their land — ll,000,000acres. 
Fulfilment of conditions was delayed — ^post- 
poned — forgotten, almost — ^by Congress. This 
voting was carried by a narrow majority; and the 
strong minority, the same as the white election 
losers, claimed bribery and corruption, i.e., ballot- 
box stuffing. Even after the land was being set- 
tled up. Congress had still neglected the appro- 
priations, and Sitting Bull's power was again in 
the ascendant. 

At this time, through some mysterious moun- 
tain phantom or trickster, the "medicine men" 
became easy victims of a craze, fashioned after 
that when the Christians followed the appear- 
ance of the Man of Galilee. This was based on 
the assertion that the Messiah (the Manitou) was 
coming back on earth to use his miraculous power 
in favor of the red man to crush out the whites; 
to restore everything to the idealistic condition 
of former years; re-stock the ranges with big 
game, buffalo, elk, deer, etc., etc. This created a 
universal fanatical fervor, and not alone among 
the Sioux, but affected all Indians on this conti- 
nent. Former foes became fast friends, and from 
the Yaquis in old Mexico to the Alaskan tribes 
in the Far North, the religious ghost-dance fes- 
tivities fanned the flames of war. The "medicine 



Digitized by 



Google 



254 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

men's" preaching that the holy medicinal ghost- 
shirts would protect the wearer, turn the white 
man's bullets, was accepted and made recruits by 
thousands to the cause* The dancing frightened 
the settlers, shocked the religious, philanthropic 
friends of the Indians, and was oflScially ordered 
stopped. "Easy orders, eh?" Instead, if they 
had been allowed to dance, even if some did so 
to the death, exhaustion, like a boiler's safety- 
valve, and an afterthought might soon have made 
it appear to them in the ridiculous light that so 
effectively kills absurdities. The ghost-shirts had 
never been tested, when a few shooting scrapes 
did occur, and the inaccuracy of bad shots was at- 
tributed to miraculous virtues in the anointed 
vestments. 

I was at the time in Alsace-Lorraine with my 
exhibition, and had with me seventy-five traveled 
Indians. We had all the facts, and myself and 
partner decided to close, camp the rest of the out- 
fit in an old castle near Strasburg (Benfeld), 
with a large domain, and I myself left by fast 
steamer via England for New York, while Major 
Burke, with the Indians as pacifiers, came via 
Antwerp and Philadelphia, and hastened to the 
scene of strife. 

The Indians brought home made a strong 
peace contingent at Pine Ridge, while I hastened, 
with General Miles's approbation, to visit Sitting 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEATH OF SITTING BULL 255 

Bull in person, feeling sure that my old enemy 
and later friend would listen to my advice. The 
fact that I was willing to take the risk myself 
alarmed some well-meaning philanthropists, who 
divined a sinister motive in my action; and those 
who were crying strongest for Sitting Bull's sup- 
pression now claimed that his person was endan- 
gered by the bloodthirsty voyager — I, the one who 
had everything to lose and nothing particular to 
gain. Going to a hostile camp of Indians, risking 
all on the card of friendship and man-to-man re- 
spect (willing to test the ghost-dance shirt in 
fair individual, single-handed way, perhaps, if 
pushed) ; but alone, and, above all, desirous to 
save my red brother from a suicidal craze. They 
impressed President Harrison that it would 
create a war, ending in the death of Sitting Bull. 
So the commander-in-chief, the President, was 
constrained to act (afterward, in Indianapolis, to 
express regret for it to me personally) and my; 
mission was countermanded at the threshold al- 
most of the hostile camp. Sitting Bull's death 
and the Ghost Dance War followed. 

Then came the army and the Indian agent. 
Left to himself, in conjunction with his coad- 
jutor, the army oflScer, that most eflScient and 
famous among the best Indian agents. Major 
James McLaughlin (now Inspector), would 
have probably brought about a peaceful solu- 



Digitized by 



Google 



256 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

tion. But Eastern meddlesome energy demand* 
ed action — action against this horrid religious 
innovation — and they forced the market by their 
innuendoes and long-distance fears. 

All interested, in my best belief, were pushed, 
and Colonel Drum, commandant at Fort Yates» 
and Major McLaughlin were ordered to co- 
operate to secure the person of Sitting Bull. 

"Henry Bull," Lieutenant of Indian police, 
had intimated that the old chief was "preparing 
his horses for a long ride." Couriers were sent 
to tell him to quietly arrest Sitting Bull, and 
Major Edmond G. Fatchet, of the Eighth Cav- 
alry, and a Hotchkiss gun were sent to support 
him. 

After a hard ride, just at dawn, they saw a 
man coming at full speed on Sitting Bull's favor* 
ite. White Horse (a Kentucky charger I had pre- 
sented him three years before) , whom they found 
to be an Indian policeman with the report of a 
fight: "AU police kiUedl" Riding like mad, 
they arrived to find some Indian police still fight- 
ing from Sitting Bull's cabin, being surrounded 
on all sides. 

Volley after volley was poured in unexpectedly 
on the besiegers, and a few shells from the Hotch- 
kiss gun scattered them, and the beleaguered were 
relieved. They had reached Sitting Bull's cabin 
at 5 a. m., surrounded it, and, capturing the old 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEATH OF SITTING BULL 257 

chief in bed, arrested him. Wliile dressing, his son, 
Crowfoot, alarmed the camp. Bull harangued 
his friends, frenzied by the thought, no doubt, 
that his own tribesmen were his captors, not feel- 
ing that respect for them he would have had for 
the military. 

Catch-the-Bear and Strike-the-Kettle dashed 
in and fired, hitting Bull Head in the side, who 
fired and killed Sitting Bull. The latter firing as 
he fell. Shave Head was shot in the abdomen, and 
all three fell together. The fight became general, 
until the arrival of Major Fatchet and several po- 
lice, and many ghost-dancers were killed, they 
not having time to utilize their shirts. Thus was 
ended the life of the chief whose faults and vir- 
tues will long be a subject of discussion, but who 
will always stand as a great red chief of the Un- 
capappa Sioux — Sitting Bull. 

I returned to Nebraska and was ordered byj 
Governor Thayer (being a Brigadier-General on 
his staff) to join the Nebraska National Guard 
with General Colby, and entered the field at Pine 
Ridge, placing the militia in position eflfectively 
to assist in surrounding the hostiles. Then I 
joined General Miles as advisory scout (Frank 
Gruard being at headquarters) , and used my per- 
sonal influence to pacify the Indians. Through 
Major-General Miles's stem measures and at 
the same time his diplomatic methods, the great- 



Digitized by 



Google 



258 TRUE TALES OF THE PLAINS 

est planned of Indian uprisings was quickly sup* 
pressed through the bloody battles of Wounded 
£jiee and The Mission, so as to make it the very 
last possible struggle of the red man — ^the finale 
of all Indian wars. 

I had the satisfaction at least of attending the 
final ceremonies, and, with a score of my old com- 
manders and many conu*ades of the '60*s, '70's 
and *80's, was on hand to welcome the era of 
good-will to each other, clasp hands in friendship 
and smoke the pipe of peace in brotherhood f or- 
iBver between the white man and the red. 

From the New York Herald^ August 18, 1876: 

"Camp of General Crook's Command, 
Goose Creek, August 4, 1876. 

"Before sunset, the Fifth Cavalry, to whom 
couriers had been sent, and who for a few hours 
had lost all reckoning as to our whereabouts, 
marched into the valley, with their supply wagon 
close on their heels. The appearance of the regi- 
ment was fine, despite the dust and fatigue of 
the march, and gladdened the eyes of every one 
who had been waiting their arrival. 

"WiUiam Cody, the celebrated ^BuflFalo BiH/ 
arrived with General Merritt, and is undoubtedly, 
alone, a strong reenf orcement of the intelligent 
efficiency of the force in the field. In the recent 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEATH OF SITTING BULL 259 

scout after the Cheyennes, who were attempting 
to join Sitting Bull, he displayed all the old brav- 
ery and deadly prowess which have made him 
a hero in the hearts of the worshippers of melo- 
drama and tales of adventure. He and Frank 
Gruard are probably the finest scouts now in 
active service. The Indian auxiliaries under 
Washaku, a friendly Shoshone, were delighted to 
behold the 'heap pony soldiers' arrive yesterday, 
for they had begun to believe that the White 
Chief was possessed of a forked tongue, and that 
he could receive no succor. The fighting forces 
of the command move forward at once." 



THE EKD 



Digitized by 



Google 




boysofbusiness series 

BY AI^I^BN CHAFICAN 

ALLEN CHAPMAN is already fa- 
vorably known to young people, 
and they are bound to hail this new 
series by him with immense satisfac- 
tion. These stories make the best of 
reading for boys getting ready to enter 
business. 

THE YOUNG EXPRESS 
AGENT 

Or Bari Stiriing's Road to Success 

niiistratcd. ISmo. 
Clotli* M cents 

"DART'S father was the express agent 
•■-' in a country town. When an ex- 
plosion of fireworks rendered him unfit for work, the boy took it 
upon himseif to run the express office. The tale gives a good idea 
of the express business in general. 

TWO BOY PUBUSHERS 

Or From T^pecase to Editor's Chair 

Illustvated* 12mo. 
Clotli, M cento 

^HIS tale will appeal strongly to all lads who wish to know how 
-■- a newspaper is printed ana published. The two boy publishers 
work their way up step by step, from a tiny printing office to the 
ownership of a town paper. 

MAIL ORDER fRANK 

Or A Smart 9oy and His Chances 

ninstrated* ISmo. 
Clotli* M cento 

XJERE we have a story covering an absolutely new field— that of 
'^•'^ the mail-order business. How Frank started in a small way 
and gradually worked his way up to a business figure of considerable 
knportance is told in a fascinating manner. 

CUPPLES A LEON CO.. PubUshers. NEW YORK 



Digitized by 



Google 



The boy hunters SERIES 

FOUR BOY HUNTERS 

Or T^ OatingofTbe Gun Club 



Captain Ralph Bonehiix 

niostrated* ISmo. 
Clotli* M cents 

A FINE, breezy story of the 
woods and waters, of adven- 
tures in search of game, and of 
great times around the camp-fire, 
told in Captain Bonehill's best 
style. In the book are given full 
directions for camping out, what 
to take along, how to hunt both 
big and little game, and the like. 
It carries with it an outdoor flavor that will prove appe- 
tizing to both young and old. 

GUNS AND SNOWSHOES 

Or The Winier Outing of The Young Hunters 
Cloth,12ma. lUiwtratcd. M ecato 

ANEW book by Captain Ralph Bonehill is always hailed 
with delight by those who have good red blood in 
their veins. In this volume the young hunters leave home 
for a winter outing on the shores of a small lake. They 
hunt and trap to their hearts' content and have adventures 
in plenty, all calculated to make boys "sit up and take 
notice.'* A good healthy book, one with the odor of the 
pine forests and the glare of the welcome camp-fire in 
every chapter. 




CUPPLES & LEON CO.. Publishers. NEW YORK 



Digitized by 



Google 



J 



THE MOTOR BOYS SERIES 

BT CI/ARBNCS YOUNG 

fN ''The Motor Boys Series'' Mr. 
^ Clarence Young has, at a sincje 




bound, placed himself in the front rank 
of writers for boys and young men. 
This line of stories is dean, bright, up- 
tOHlate, and full of adventure. 



Price per voliime» ite* 

THE MOTOR BOYS 

Or GfauM Through Thich amd Thm 

IN this volume are rehted how the 
three boys ffot together and planned 
to obtain a touring car and make a trip lasnng through the summer. 

THE MOTOR BOYS OVERLAND 

Or A Long Trip for Fan and Fodum 

TITITH the money won at the great motor cycle race the three boyS 
^^ purchase their touring car and commence their travels. When 
in the West they hear of the opening up of a new gold diggings and 
resolve to visit the locality In their car. 

THE MOTOR BOYS IN MEXICO 

Or Tho Socroi of Tho Bnnod C% 

17ROM our own country the scene is shifted to Mexko, where the 
-^ motor boys journey in quest of a dty said to have been buried 
centuries ago by an earthquake. 

The MOTOR BOYS ACROSS tbe PLAINS 

Or Tbo HtrmU of LoMi Laho 

^HIS is the latest volume in this highly suocessf ul series and takes 
-^ the boys throuffh a variety of adventures. How they found Lost 
Lake, unraveled the mystery surrounding the lonely hermit who 
dwelt there, and saved their precious gold mine from railing into the 
hands of a band of sharpers. 

CDPPLES A LEON CO^ Pabllslier8» NEW YORK 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE JACK RANGER SERIES 

BY CLARENCE YOUNG 

Author op The Motor Boys Series 



JACK RANGER'S SCHOOL DAYS 

Or, the Rhah of Wasfiingion Hall 
Cloth, beautifully decorated* Illustrated, f 1.00 

YOU will love Jack Ranger — ^you simply can't help it. 
He is so bright and cheery, and so real and life like* 
A typical boarding school tale without 
a dull line in it. 



\ \^^m 



JACK 

, SANfifFS 
)^SGS0OID)Q5 



i>Hci^brf: 



II i&rK U JACK RANGE»'S SCHOOL 

i4llloA««^lfi VICTORIES 

Ot, Track, Gridiron and Dutmomd 
Cloth. Illustrated, >i.oo 

IN this tale Jack gets back to Wash- 
ington Hall and goes in for all sorts 
of school games. There are numer* 
ous contests on the athletic field, and 
also a great baseball game and a football game, all dear to 
a boy's heart. The rivalry is bitter at times and enemies 
try to put Jack '' in a hole " more than once. But Jack 
knows how to take care of himself, and all ends well. As 
a picture of boarding school life this is one of the best. 

JACK RANGER'S WESTERN TRIP 

Or, from Boarding School io Ranch and Rangt 
Cloth. Illustrated, f 1.00 

THIS second volume of the '* Jack Ranger Series" takes 
the hero and several of his chums to the great West. 
Jack is anxious to clear up the mystery surrounding h>* 
father's disappearance. Before leaving the school he has 
several amusing adventures, and while at the ranch and 
on the range more adventures of the strenuous sort befall 
him. Jack is a jolly, lovable fellow as of old, and all boys 

will warm to him from the first chapter. 

•-^ — 

CVPPLES A LEON CO.. Pabllshers, NEW YORK 



Digitized by 



Google 




NEW ALGER BOOKS 

JOE, THE HOTEL BOY 

Or, Winning Out b^ Pluck 

BY HORATIO ALGER, JR. 

Illustrated, i2mo. Cloth, 60 cents 

THIS is one of the last stories penned by 
that prince of all juvenile writers, Horatia 
Alger, Jr., and is one of his best It 
describes the adventures of a youth brought 
up in the country by an old hermit. When 
the hermit dies the boy obtains work at a 
nearby hotel and later on drifts to the city 
and obtains a position in another hotd. 
There is a mystery concerning the lad-s 
identity and likewise the disappearance of a 
certain blue box, but in the end all terminates 
satisfactorily. 

BEN LOGAN*S TRIUMPH 

O, The Bays of Boxwood Academy 

BY HORATIO ALGER, JR. 
Illustrated, i2mo. Cloth, 60 cents 

THIS story was penned by Mr. Alger some 
years before his death but has never 
appeared in book form. Ben was a city 
newsboy, rather rough but with a heart of 
gold. He did a great service for a good- 
hearted farmer and the latter took Ben home 
with him. The lad had never been in the 
country before, and his eyes were opened to 
a new world. Then the youth was sent to a 
boarding school where he made his way to 
the front amid many difficulties. Mr. Alger's 
charm as a juvenile writer is so well known 
it is needless to mention it here, and this story is in his best vein. 

CUPPLES A LEON CO., PobUsliers. NEW YORK 




Digitized by 



Google 



The Darewell Chums Series 

BY ALLEN CHAPMAN 

Cloth. Beautifully Illustrated, 60 cents each 

ALLEN CHAPMAN is already well-known to thousands 
of boy readers through his "Boys of Business Series'* 
and numerous other popular works. The lad who reads 
one volume of this series will surely want them all. 

THE DAREWELL CHUMS 

Or, The Heroes of the Schooi 

A BRIGHT, lively story for boys, telling of the doings of four 
chums, at school and elsewhere. There is a strong holding 
plot, and several characters who are highly amusing. Any 
youth getting this book will consider it a prize and tell all his 
friends about It 

THE DAREWELL CHUMS IN THE CITY 

Or, The Disappearance of Ned Wilding 

FROM a country town the scene is changed to a great city. One 
of the chums has disappeared in an extraordinary manner, and 
the others institute a hunt for him. The youths befriend a city 
waif, who in turn makes a revelation which clears up the mystery. 
A faithful picture of life in a great city to-day. 

The DAREWELL CHUMS IN THE WOODS 



Or, Frank Roscoe's Secret 



THE boys had planned for a grand outing 
when something happened of which none 
of them had dreamed. They thought 
one of their number had done a great wronit 
—at least, it looked so. But they could not 
really believe the accusations made so they 
set to work to help Frank all they could. All 
went camping some miles from home, and 
when not hunting and fishing spent their 
time in learning the truth of what had occurred. 
A story somewhat out of the ordinary, with 
a plot cakulated to make anybody read on 
to the end. 




CUPPLES & LEON CO., Pobllslieni, NEW YOBK 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



^^m 



Digitized by 



Google 




3 2044 019 891 985 



r 



Tills book should be returned to 
the Library on or before the last date 
stamped below. 

A flue of five cents a day is incurred 
by retaining it beyond the specified 
time. 

Please return promptly. 







Die itized by 



Coogle